These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, August 18, 2006


i saw my niece emma when she was two weeks old back in early april. she was a thin, long shape with a pointy head and the tip of one ear folded (from her time in the womb). she was wrinkly and a little red. she cried and wasnt' terribly active.

now, she's on her way to five months. she's a filled-out baby, with her mama's plump thighs (according to my sister), has a cute little smile (toothless to date), loves to grab onto things, takes hold of her bottle, uses her flexibility to put her toes in her mouth, is temperamental at times, takes cat naps and seems to be head strong.

none of these things i get to see and only experience second hand through my sister, mother, father or aunt. she's growing up 2,000 miles away. that's the price one pays in these situations.

however, there is one thing i do get to experience when i'm on the phone with my sister and she has emma in her arms. the baby gets the hiccups once a day or so and it happens that i've been on the phone with my sister the past few times and emma's had the hiccups.

i think it's so funny to hear that sound that is recognizable around the world, whether in an adult or child. my sister and i began a conversation and then the hiccups begin. it's the coolest thing -- maybe so because it's not happening to me and i hate it when i get the hiccups. but when my niece gets them it's such a lovely sound to hear and it's my connection to her at this point.

i imagine her tiny body in my sister's arms and as one of the hiccups comes, her mouth opens, slightly, and he body convulses upward, then it relaxes. it's not a prety image and it's not the action that endears me to it but the sound over the wireless phone into which i'm listening.

love you little emma grace.


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