Saturday, March 19, 2016

Create A Creature, Renee Cree

By Renee Cree

When I first held her, she was only a few hours old, a small little germ of a human, swaddled tight in her hospital blanket. I had never seen such a new person before; the babies I'd previously encountered had at least been a few days old--and here i was, meeting up with her at the starting line.

It was an odd feeling for me. I have been in the room with someone who exited this world, held her as she took her last breaths. I felt her soul leave, and the effect was sobering--I had stared at my own mortality in the face.

But here. Here was a a brand new life, with a soul bubbling under the surface like magma under tectonic plates. Churning, and energetic, and wriggling, and incredibly present. This too, was fascinating; where I had once looked into the eyes of death, now I was looking at the fuse of a beautiful life.

In that moment, I felt something switch on, deep inside of me. It wasn't a desire to have a child, that proverbial biological clock; it was...awe. I was in awe of this little girl, and her mother, and my mother, and all the women who came before me and ensured with their own bodies that I would be here, and I would be me.

I marveled at the strength and courage it takes to not just cultivate a life, but nurture it. In that moment, I began to appreciate all of the things my body and the bodies of other women have the capability to do. We have entire ecosystems living inside us, and we are optimally designed to give life. Women can create being out of nothing. It's magic and it's science, all at the same time.

I regarded her as she slept; the tufts of downy hair, the pink skin, the saucer-eyes, still trying to figure out what to focus on, and where to look. I tried to pick out the features of each of her parents, and marveled again at the sheer randomness of it all. How the body decides whether a chin gets a cleft; whether earlobes are attached or free; whether eyes are blue or brown. Our bodies are essentially alphabet soup, all As, Cs, Gs and Ts looking for their mate, and it all comes together to create the small wriggling creature in my arms.

Her eyes, with their improbably long lashes, flutter and attempt to open. There are so many new sights, and smells and sounds. What must it be like, to see everything in the entire world for the very first time? Is that why babies sometimes scream without reason? Sensory overload?

I wonder what kind of person she will be. Will she be gregarious, like her mother? Or more reserved, like her father? Will she be an artist? A scientist? The president? I begin to get excited for her. This is indeed the fun of new babies; their story has not even begun to be written, so we, the adults in their lives, get to spin whatever tale we wish--at least, for a little while.


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