The tribe has expanded. On November 23 Mamacita delivered a healthy baby boy, Quentin Robert. Over Thanksgiving, I spent three days with her family. When I first got there the little guy was in a baby chair on top of the kitchen table while his parents ate dinner. I looked at my sister wiggling my eyebrows and tip toed over to have a peek. There he was swaddled in a blanket with eyes closed.
“Ooooooooooh my goodness. What a little woozle. Look how beautiful you are.” I cooed, as I hovered above him with hands clasped behind my back, resisting the urge to touch. His chest puffed up and down rapidly. He took shallow breaths sucking air in through a tiny opening in his lips. It dawned on me that Quentin was just learning how to breathe. As I took in the features of his face – most notably a little ridge line that runs horizontally above the nose from cheek to cheek – two thoughts ran simultaneously through my mind. First, I wondered how anyone could really bring themselves to harm something so precious and helpless. Second, I marveled at the idea that each of us human beings was once this tiny and vulnerable. Then a joke my deceased Grandfather told often looped in my head –Once you were cute, but then you grew some. I shook my head chuckling at its truth and walked to a chair across from my sister.
“You look AMAZING, how do you feel?”
“Fine… tired but fine. “
“How are the other kids getting on with all of this?”
“Really good. The other day Rydes came in from the playground, took off all his clothes except his underwear, sat down on the couch next to me and said, ‘Naked man is ready to hold the baby.’”
* * *
On Sunday morning I watched Little Quent as the rest of the family went to mass. I lay on the couch with him swaddled in a blanket lying on top of my chest. I felt his heartbeat pulsating against my skin as we rested together idly passing an hour. When I repositioned him a hand popped out of the blanket. I placed my thumb in the center and wrapped my fingers around his boney little ones. I made a promise to him that when the world gets rough he’ll always have my hand to reach for and hold on to.
* * *
A few days later I received a phone call from Mamacita asking if I’d like to be Quentin’s Godmother.
I replied, “Awwwwwwwwwwe…. Little Quent’s Godmother. I’d be so honored.”
Then she told me that my brother John is going to be the Godfather, this made things even more special. As we chatted, I thought about my own Godparents. They played such a special role in my childhood development. I grew up one of many but they made me feel like one in a million. On special occasions, I’d receive a card from them with crisp $2 bills inside that made me feel extraordinary. And on Christmas Eve when my family visited my Godparents, they’d receive us with appetizers, coke in glass bottles and a present for their Goddaughter waiting under the tree. We have a special bond that has grown through the years because they took their roles as Godparents seriously. I promised Mamacita I’d do the same for Little Quent.
After I finished with Mamacita, I dialed my brother.
“Helllllllo, Mr. Godfather.”
“Who would ever have thought that you and I would have a kid together?”
A Warrior Princess