Mary Beth gets maudlin

Yesterday I became a first cousin, once removed, to a newborn baby boy. To those who don’t know me, that might sound absurdly distant, but I grew up in an absurdly tight-knit extended family. Jamie, the new father, is practically a second brother to me, so in my heart, I feel practically like an aunt. It’s very exciting.

But if I am to be perfectly honest (and where better than on a public blog?), it’s been difficult for me too. Maybe it’s because I no longer live on the family compound (well, five houses within a quarter-mile radius—whatever), and maybe it’s because I’m an immature twit, but since learning that Jamie and Kristen were going to become parents, I never really got past the abstraction of the idea. In my head, it felt like another marker of the scary reality that we’re all getting older at a much faster pace than I can handle—apiece with Kenny, the baby of the family (no, the former baby of the family), heading off to college and with the fact that my parents will soon be the parents of a thirty-year-old (which somehow upsets me more than the fact that I will be that thirty-year-old) and even, in a sick way, with my dad’s heart attack a couple years ago. It all ran together in my head, and deep down, underneath my sincere happiness for people whom I love so much, I was freaked out and kind of upset. I knew it wasn’t about me, but even so, I didn’t feel ready.

It took seeing pictures of Jamie and Kristen, exhausted but so happy, holding their beautiful son, for me to get it through my thick skull that this is not, in fact, about all of us moving ever closer to death. (Yes, I’m a freak show.) It’s about life, a blossoming branch on my beloved family tree. I know what great parents Jamie and Kristen are going to be, what great parents they already are, and I’m so happy for them—and for the rest of us, too, who have a new family member to love and support and cherish and drive crazy, each in our own special way.

So congratulations, Jamie and Kristen, and welcome, little baby Jay bird. I look forward to meeting you.

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