Saturday, February 02, 2013

So Much To Learn

Inside this featherweight lump of flesh, cradled on my arm, ebbing and flowing with my breathing, a human being is exploring her body, figuring out how it works.  So many parts and pieces to master.  An arm flails.  Gurgling sounds from the belly.  She’s in there, emerging into awareness of this body.   And the body itself is still unfinished.  Her lips move up and down.  The mouth opens a little, now a lot.  The head moves seeking a nipple.  When none is found a soft cry calls out.

Later, satisfied and back on my arm,  An eyelid opens to a slit.  Then closes again.  Now  wide open.  What does she see?  Whoops, her eyeball rolls up leaving a white orb before the lids close. 

Is there any more challenging adventure than mastering one’s own body?  Gaining control of the arms and legs. Slowly gaining full consciousness, bit by bit.  Making sense of the light hitting the eye and the sound waves coming in through the ear holes?  Shaping the involuntary chirps into intentional sounds and then words? 

I look down at her nose and lips and eyes and cheeks and wonder who this little girl is and who she will become.  My daughter’s daughter.  A new being that only my wife and I and two others we only met a year ago call granddaughter.  I watch in wonder as she awakens into life and begins to take control of her body parts, so very slowly, day be day discovering new secrets.  Almost two weeks now I’ve had my heart lightened by her tiny body resting against me. 


  1. Ah, Grandpa Aufrecht! Your words shape the real romantic beneath the skin-deep, rational-intellectual. It is artistry in joy.

    Good on you and your granddaughter for each holding a gift of promise. May you each find your lives a shining light to each other. Thank you for reflecting on what it is to be human... being.

    Blessings on your house.

  2. Grandpa's girl! Nothing is more special than that! Many decades later, the loss of my wonderful grandpa is just as sharp as the day it happened. Love and joy to you and yours.

  3. Thanks to both of you - Jacob and WakeUp.

  4. Oh! Wow, such a beautiful piece to read.

    I am new to your blog - I was googling "Thai Elephants with bike lights" of all things, and found myself here.

    I read this entry expecting it to be written by a parent... a mother. I felt emotional reading it, thinking of how in love I am with my own children.

    I did not grow up with a male figure. Although I am married to a wonderful man and am in my 40's with growing babies of my own, I still equate this type of emotion as maternal.

    To read at the end that you are the grandfather of this tiny little baby makes me think that she is very blessed indeed, as is her mother.

    I am sorry if this comment is a little cheesy and embarrassing...feel free to delete it, I just wanted to say that your post and the obvious love you have for your grandchild really warmed my heart and bought tears to my eyes.

    I also know that one day my husband is going to be a wonderful grandfather and I can't wait to see that.

  5. Expat Wife - Not cheesy at all. Thank you for letting me know what you thought. You wandered onto a post that isn't typical here, as Jacob noted. My kids don't want their lives broadcast to the world so personal stuff doesn't usually get here.

    I did go to your blog and see that you've been in Thailand now for over a year. I'm not sure how many of my Thai posts you read after the elephant, but I have a real love for Thailand too and am glad you are starting to get out of your compound to explore the enchanting land of the Thais. I hope you get to make some good Thai friends too - they are wonderful people and they love children.


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