I’m Jason Schneiderman, and this is The Slowdown.
My little brother was a very cute and very happy baby. In all the baby pictures of him, he has an enormous and infectious smile. My baby pictures are mostly of me looking very worried. My infant expression was one of extreme caution, and my body language indicated a strong desire to get away from wherever I was, ideally in favor of somewhere safer. Babies are strangers, little humans born into a world that has been going on without them for a long time, and they are completely dependent on the giants around them to help them find their way. Every baby was once part of another person, and then they are on their own, cared for, we hope, but newly whole in a radical way.
Last week, I met the newest member of my family, my cousin’s newborn baby. It was at a funeral for my aunt, my cousin’s mother, and as keenly as I was feeling this loss, I was grateful for that little child, keeping up a steady babble through the entire service, reminding us 1) babies have no sense of decorum and 2) that life does end, but it also begins.