Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

I Held A Baby

Posted by evankessler on December 8, 2010

There's a First Time for Everything

A particularly wondrous thing about life is that no matter how old you are, you’re provided with an infinite amount of opportunities to contribute to the vast catalogue of first-time experiences. First kiss, first through-the-legs windmill jam, first trip to solitary confinement–these are all things in the canon of possible never-been-done-befores that people may happen upon during their time on this Earth.

Some things are more likely to occur than others, and even some of those more-likely-to-occur things manage to elude  those who are not immune to adventure.

Take me for instance, I’m thirty-two years old and I’ve been to Bangkok, Thailand and Paris, France (amongst other places); I’ve been to summer camp and driven a Smart Car– but up until today I’d never held a baby.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, how does someone who has graced the planet for more than three decades get off scot-free in the holding infants department?

Simple. I made a conscious decision to not hold any children no matter how related-to-me they might be or how adorable they are.

You see, I’m absolutely petrified of both old people and small children. I have  a fear that my proximity to either one of them will ultimately lead to their demise. Not that I harbor some sort of homicidal thirst, rather that my lack of reactive reflexes will prove a detriment for a reasonably helpless being should an emergency situation arise. I generally avoid taking other people’s pets out of doors for the same reason.

So how did this reversal of baby-holding fortune come about, when my stance on such matters up until now had been so strict? Well, I guess you could say I was taken by surprise and had absolutely no choice in the matter.  You see, my old roommate Sean recently had a son with his wonderful wife, and the two of them had come to town on business with baby in tow. Sean and I decided to meet up for a bite to eat and some conversation this afternoon. Upon his arrival on the Lower East Side with newborn son Sims hanging from a pouch around his neck, the three of us traversed the frigid city streets until happening upon a suitable cafe for our outing.

We sat down and ordered a warm alcoholic beverage to soothe our icy insides and a snack or two and got to talking about the state of things, but as our time dwindled down, my former roommate uttered something along the lines of “I gotta get a picture of you with Sims.” Only, the words I heard were, “you gotta take a picture of me with Sims,” meaning I was on camera duty.

Before I knew it, a not-yet three-month-old was being thrust toward me by Sean’s proud parental hands for me to take on the temporary role of “Uncle Evan.” Panic filled me for an instant before calm won out. I gingerly wrapped my hands to encompass the near entirety of the tot’s torso. This was an honor, but still three distinct fears bounced around my brain in the brief minute I held my friend’s son. First, I worried about the implications should I drop him; second, I thought my tight grip specifically designed to prevent me from dropping him could end up crushing his fragile ribs; and third, I was worried that the contents of the diaper soiled early in our first meeting might drip onto my person in a messy heap. Luckily, none of those fears came to pass. Actually, I was surprised how sturdy this two-month old body was despite its diminutive size. There’s something to be said for the intricate architecture of the human body. My momentary marvel over the makeup of this miniature morsel of being aside, there was great feeling of relief when he was received from my  non-child rearing iron grasp.

Even with all of the mental drama, I’m proud to say that I spat in the face of one of my long-abided restrictions. I posed for a photo with an adorable and remarkable piece of life breathing in between my hands, embracing  a new experience. One more down, plenty to go.

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