Seeing my nephew for the first time
Although it is cold and the days are short, a trip to see my nephew for the first time brightened up last week.
He lives in Canberra and is one cheeky little dude. He probably causes more grief than half the politicians there! He is going on eight months of age and has a thinned-out tuff of blonde hair. Although I can see his brain constantly learning and working hard, I think I learnt some key lessons as well.
I see the family resemblance
I have always been told that when someone close to you has a baby, you will just stare at it in disbelief for hours. I also always thought this was some gushing parent nonsense. However, I’m not so sure now. As weird as it sounds, I can literally see the genetics at work in my nephew. I can see my dad's eyes in his eyes, and my brother’s hair in his hair. He really is just a mash of genetic copying (with a dash of consciousness, personality and character). Seeing this strange circle of life in real-time certainly makes me think about my place in the world and the history that has bound all of humanity together.
I can find that thinking about purpose, meaning and life quite anxiety inducing and stressful. Meeting my nephew certainly made me think in a new way and gave me a refreshing perspective on my outlook in life. I certainly never saw him stressing himself with goals and ‘finding purpose’. He simply liked his food, his naps and a good squishy toy.
We really are amazing and kind of hopeless
As I stood and watched my nephew slowly pull himself up onto objects, mumble out baby garble and chew on everything, I could see his brain learning. It was a realisation that is difficult to put into words. I couldn’t physically see his brain forming new neurological links and pathways for new skills and tasks, but I could at the same time. I saw him fail at a task and then through repetition and practice, master it. As amazing as it is to see his brain learning new things every day, I realised we are really hopeless and vulnerable too. He would cry, cause mess at every opportunity and… well he isn’t quite ready to manage what comes out the other end. I could see how much work and care goes into giving him a happy healthy life. It made me appreciate my upbringing and the role of my parents. It also gave me a further sense of respect for my brother and his partner for the work and commitment that they put into keeping my nephew safe and happy.
He is a chilled out little guy
As babies go, he is pretty chilled out. He cries and gets upset but for the most part is quite an inquisitive bubba. What is strange is how relaxed and at ease I felt when spending time with him. All my worries and concerns seemed rather obsolete when I was with my nephew. I don’t think he was stressed out if I would pass my exams or if the pandemic or climate change would impact our world. The simplicity of his world was refreshing. As much as I loved spending time with him, it also helped me unwind, destress and feel closer to family.