A blog experiment by Brad Mills.


Welcoming Olivia

Olivia Grace Olivia Grace, my newest niece, was born today at 5:53 PM. She weighed 9 pounds 8 ounces at birth (a lunker!), and she has large curious eyes, an even temper (thus far), and a head full of hair. This is the big news of the day, of course, and probably will remain so for a good while.

I observed an interesting thing. I had to make a dessert for a going-away thing at work tomorrow. Olivia was born while I was working on it, and I paused long enough to scour Facebook for some photos. I found one, of course — this kid is already an Internet celebrity and she isn't even a day old yet. I motioned Andrew over to show him his new cousin.

He looked at the picture, then he looked at me. His expression absolutely floored me. He had kind of a half-grin and was just beaming. I think I'd be comfortable calling it pride. Then he said, "High five," and held his hand up. I gave him the requisite five (don't leave me hangin, heh heh) and he looked at the picture again with that same proud grin.

I thought that was pretty cool. I'm really not sure what to make of it, however. Was it really pride? Or maybe he was thinking, "Cool, I'm not the youngest anymore." Which, technically he wasn't anyway — he has one cousin younger than him, but she lives in Ohio and we rarely see her.

I have another theory, though. I think there's a level of recognition at work here, something subtle which says, "This is one of my people." I think it's one of those things which operates at the reptilian levels of our brains, and thus is hard to articulate with the language we've molded to our brains' upper primate levels. It was just such a raw, pure expression — this from the kid who plays with cars and trucks, and to my knowledge, never showed any interest in babies until today.

It's probably this sense of recognition which bonded us with some and not others, and thus, separated us into tribes, and eventually, peoples, nations.

And I felt something similar as I saw her in the hospital nursery this evening, mere hours old, all helpless and moving randomly. There were other babies in that nursery with her, but only Olivia held my attention.

For me, it was absolutely a sense of recognition. And she is one of us.

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