My granddaughter’s first birthday was on Saturday. Much like her older brother’s first birthday, upon which I reflected a few years ago, family and friends gathered to ogle and give gifts for the little angel (for that’s exactly what she is) in a symbolic shower of love. This first year has been a joyful if sleepless time for her parents, and an absolute wonder for her grandparents, who can’t help but recall the memories of their own little girl decades ago. That memory is aided considerably by the fact that this baby looks so much like her mother, who also happens to be an identical twin. So the recollections are tripled for grandma and grandpa.
I found myself noting all the individual requirements of this little celestial. She exhibits definite preferences that must be satisfied; she points to where she wants to go and slides across a floor with ease to explore her latest interest. She is relentless in her curiosity. She demands to be fed with regularity and particularity. Her regular sleep patterns must be maintained for domestic peace; she wakes up early for her daily work. She does not do well if she is too cold. When she holds a toy, she will struggle against her brother’s compulsion to take it away; she most often does not have the power to prevail. She is quick to smile. As she is being fed, she is very cognizant of the foods which others are consuming and which are forbidden to her; I suspect that she yearns for the day when she might share in those same, enticing meals. She is adored by her family and, now, anyone else who has the chance to get close to her. She touches people. She is inquisitive about them, but not quite brave enough to move outside the comfort zone of her mother’s presence.
In these ways, she is almost exactly like her older brother at the same age. She is probably just like nearly all other 1 year-olds. Actually, she’s just like all the rest of us, who require our basic needs to be met and then hope that we might absorb at least a little bit more, so that we can become who we are meant to be. Just like other North Americans, or Europeans, or Koreans or Russians. Just like Nicaraguans.
I loved watching her reach for a cupcake. Like everyone, she deserves it….