Sunday, November 06, 2016

Hello Goodbye

Part One: Hello

In one sense I’ve preferred the news not come.

Because no matter to what degree one is an environmentalist – and make no mistake: every one of us is an environmentalist to some widely varying degree; some number between one per cent and a hundred (as if it could be so easily quantified) where only the truest aboriginals might claim the number 100 and maybe Derrick Jensen the singular white guy to hit ninety nine? – anyway, unless you’re pretty badly out to lunch you can’t deny that a seven and a half billion human population is a major factor in the long equation which underlies the environmental catastrophe which guarantees to radically change – if not end – the human experience on this dear old half-wrecked planet. Every avenue of human-related harm has been multiplied by population.

So one of the very few pieces of advice I ardently profess is: think twice about having kids... for quite a few solid reasons related to the above.

But in another sense…

I have eagerly anticipated such news since my brother’s marriage to my very excellent sister-in-law (what a horrible title – sister in law – for someone I am so delighted to include in my perception of family!)

It seems it was the four years volunteering with the reading and writing kids which so surprisingly unveiled these paternal instincts, and surely a niece or nephew would provide an obvious outlet for them. I have wondered at times to what degree said instincts have enhanced, versus hindered, the close relationships I maintain with certain young people in my life.

I’d started to suspect that Bro and wife were not planning to have kids after all.

And then at a family gathering , one of our parents' regular roster reports of the sick, dead and dying among their friends and associates was interrupted mid-sentence  by the Bro as follows:

“Couldn’t we talk about something more pleasant? Such as the fact that Catharine is pregnant?”

I honestly had thought that I would shed tears if such an announcement ever came (yes, of joy) but this was not the case.

Whenever I checked up on them, Mom seemed to be doing well and not complaining (though I am sure that pregnancy must be wildly uncomfortable most – or all – of the time).

I got the call two months ago. It was a boy. And with respect to his paternal lineage (a John Paul, a Jean Paul and a Jean Marc) he was named: Jean Benoit. Ben for short.

I gave them some time to attend their own needs and then joined them at Sprawlville’s regal new mega-hospital. The folks would arrive on my tail. I entered quietly to find her in bed and Bro on his feet. He gestured toward a corner, and there I saw him sleeping in his baby bucket. Such a little guy, in his little rapper toque and blanket bundle. He became a little blurry. Something wrong with my eyes perhaps.

Eventually I hugged the parents goodbye and thanked them for bringing this joy into our lives.

Strolling down the long corridor of what felt more like an airport than a hospital, I said to Mom; the new grandma, “Six of us now. We’ve come a long way from just the two of us.”

“Yes we have.” 

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