Saturday, May 09, 2015

How a first grandson made me think and feel


I have two children, both of whom took care of themselves, even when they got in trouble. Nothing major, though. They graduated top of their high school, scholarships to great schools, received their B.A.s. The daughter completed her M.A. secured good jobs, her own home and a future of her making. The son will finish his M.A. this year, married a great woman, and the two of them just had my first grandkid. Whether there are more doesn't matter. One is great.

Before: son and his wife
Although, it took him over 50 hrs. of labor to agree to leave his mother's womb. Will that make him a "mama's boy?" I don't know, nor do I care one way or the other. He will be shaped and nurtured by his father and mother. That's sufficient.

50 hrs. of labor. From the ruido I've heard through three births, males should share that experience.
A high school sex-ed where kids had to watch 50 hrs. of labor might lead to a lot fewer unwanted births, bastards, as we call them. Whatever the origin of that term, the intention was children with two adult parents responsible for the rearing. A good thing.

Sex-ed classes of 50 hrs. of labor might prove positive for some girls. Or not. But it might be more entertaining than the zero-effective Just Say No, Not These Thighs.

Nor might it drive down the hormones of some boys. Better perhaps to try what one TV show did:
"As part of a stunt for their show, Storm and Zeno were hooked up to a machine with electrodes stuck to their abdomens to simulate labor pains. And just like the real thing, the cramping of the 'contractions' got stronger, longer and closer together.
"The average labor lasts 12 to 14 hours, but Storm and Zeno only lasted two hours."

Nahua movement glyph to watch over him
Historically, the Catholic Church is responsible for billions, or more, children born out of wedlock, without the support of two loving parents, born into relative poverty as their first obstacle in life. The Catholic "sacredness" of life precludes contraception, like a woman's right to abortion. So, in fact what's sacred is making babies, of whatever lineage. As long as any church holds sway with Chicanos, Latinos and others, multitudes are locked into cycles that include poverty, and not only financial poverty. Also, a poverty of self-responsibility and parental modeling.

My new grandson is "luckier" than that. His parents smarter, more responsible. As my daughter will be. And many other sons and daughters. And even though there are too many of our species on this planet, at least many grandkids will be born who learned from the errors of their generations. So, change can come.

50 hrs. of labor. An abuelo during labor is as useful as a diaper. There's nothing to be done, nor much of any way to contribute. It's really up to the parents. Moral support--sure. Physically going to the car for something--sure. Getting on the phone to deliver messages--maybe. Otherwise, abuelos serve by only standing and waiting and assuming their presence is somehow valuable to someone. It's in the job description, at least for that day(s).

50 hrs. of labor. Sounds like damn good extra rationale for considering adoptions.

azteca cradle illustration
Adoptions, in many cases, of grandkids born out of wedlock. Or orphans, many of whom are collateral products of American wars, American drugs or American guns. Somewhere on the Internet there are statistics of how many adoptable kids my country is responsible for this year or day. And that's not including those within our borders.

Orphaned Palestinians. Orphaned Mexican, Salvadoran and Guatemalan grandkids. How many there are, I don't know. I do know what my country is financing in Israel and Gaza. I can hear it from the lips of Israeli soldiers who helped produce those orphans.

I don't feel it's a negative or sad thing to think of such children during the 50 hrs. of labor while First Grandchild was searching for a way out. I'm privileged to be sitting in a new, modern hospital in a richer country than most grandkids will open their eyes to. My grandkid will have more such privileges, though he will not have it easy. But he'll learn. Things like, #BlackNBrownNRedLivesMatter.

Imbedded raw turquoise ojo; half set, unstained walnut
I'm making my interpretation of a neo-azteca cradle for whenever New Grandkid comes over. Of salvaged or recycled walnut, cedar and ipe wood. No nails, screw or metal, only glue, dowels and rope, tung oil stain. Because of the Catholic Church-sanctioned destruction of native art, I know little of what cradles in Tenochtítlan looked like, vaguely something like this drawing. I imagine the rest.

I'm imbedding raw turquoise in the headboard knot-hole, an ojo to watch over Grandkid while I head to the frig to get him another Negra Modelo. Of course, to cool him in summer, not to drink. Yet.

brecas on cedar siderails
The side rails have brecas painted on them. The footboard he'll be able to see has an ollin-motion glyph, bracketed by a lizard and monkey, symbolic animals to encourage his love of other creatures. The cradle is a work of love--loving to work with wood and natural elements. Grandkid and I don't know each other well enough to determine much more than that, yet.

on ipe wood footboard

Almost 50 hrs. after birth, Grandkid has no name. Actually, his parents decided that even the sex would be unknown until birth. I love that. So few precious things in life to savor that our technology attempts to rob us of.

Turns out, my guess about the birthdate won the pool that I'll have to share with … Cinco, as I have called him, given that he had no name. Cinco, as in my guess that he'd be born a week late, on Cinco de Mayo. [It was the Siete, instead.] Now I'll need to get a new cat or dog and name it Cinco, to break my tendency to endow Grandkid with a numerical nickname.

50 hrs. of labor, but my grandson is not special. "Laborious," sure. Precious, certainly. Beautiful? Like art and literature, where beauty is in the eye of the beholder or the reader or audience, in the case of baby-beauty, it's in the eye of the relatives.

Humans must have at least two genetic propensities. One for any baby, because it's defenseless and of our species. Another, for babies related to us and bearing some resemblance to our clan or tribe. The second feels like the more ingrained, to me. Moral dilemma: having to choose between saving only one of two babies, you save the one with your color hair and eye shape. Naturally.

Yesterday, I saw and held and talked and discussed life with Grandkid for the first time. Skin like his parents. Hair like a gorilla. Invisible eyebrows. Eyes, black as ebony, tinged like the deepest waters off Cozumel. Beauty was not what I hoped for, which is why there's no photo here of Grandkid. Only a video could capture what's important.

Instead, Grandkid quickly showed the same alertness my kids were born with, not that I know whether his mother seemed that way at birth. Focusing on things above him, intensely savoring something about them, steadying his gaze, finding his bearings. Maybe wishing Strange Abuelo with flashing camera would go the fk away. Smiling a couple of times. Like he understood his new position of dominance.

After: she could probably do another 50
50 hrs. of labor. That I can't describe as regrettable, given the results. Mother forgive me, but it was natural, that's all.

I'm thinking: one can adopt kids, so why not grandkids? Forget how "beautiful" they might look. Better they have the capacity to understand this world that I oftentimes don't. That they reverse our direction heading toward global-warmed extinction. That they're lucky enough to find parents like these ready to catch them. And maybe an abuelo nearby, willing to stand-in. And cuddle him before nestling him like some hummingbird egg, into a neo-azteca cradle. Whenever it's completed.

Es todo,
RudyG, hoy, just another abuelo

5 comments:

msedano said...

felicitaciones, felicidades, happiness, congratulations, and welcome to the world yet-to-be-named cinco.
mvs

Sandra Ramos O'Briant said...

Rudy, you've embraced the maternal goddess. Love that you're not dismissive of her work, her labor, in continuing your line. Felicidades.

Melinda Palacio said...

I love the name Cinco. I look forward to more stories about him and meeting Cinco one day. Congratulations!

Unknown said...

Rudy, I'm happy for you as you enter a wonderful new phase in your life: being abuelito, grampa, tata, baba, or whatever else you little one will call you when he discovers his voice and your love! But I am sorry that you have allowed your Catholic Church bashing to sour the otherwise lovely-and loving- tone of this piece. I suppose it is fashionable to bash the Catholic Church nowadays, but I am disppointed that you would use the context of Cinco's birth to do this. As a baba of three grands, I wish you all the joy of the journey as the two (or mroe!) of you discover your shared joys.

Anonymous said...

Dear Unknown,
I don't do anything because it's fashionable. I've been on the Church's corporate ass since the 70s; it had nothing to do with religion. I helped organize the first picketing and protest inside masses of the Cathedral in Denver. To get them to give back to the Chicanos and mexicanos they'd taken money from for centuries. It worked and should it turn out there is a heaven, I believe St. Peter will smile brightly at my work and words, however meager they've been. – RudyG