Ramblings of a Father
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Ester was small, very small. Babies have disgusted me my entire life. I have never met a baby that didn’t disgust me until I met Ester. She was graceful and polite. Of course she still screamed and cried, but it was different. Her choices seemed adult and sophisticated, like she put thought into them with her tiny baby brain. I understand that babies are just babies, and people who I’ve shared my strong views with tell me simply that they’re, “just babies,” or “they can’t help it.” And, yes, that is true, of course they can’t help it. It’s something with my psychology, and I admit that. I once hid a massive pain I had in one of my fingers for a full month before saying anything. That doesn’t make me stoic, that makes me stupid, and I understand that, but I hold no regret for what I did. In fact I have respect for my decision to conceal my easily-solved pain, and I think that's why I dislike babies. They have zero sense of worldly presence. They have never, and won’t experience for years, the beauty that lies in pain, isolation, and the minimal, but ridiculous decisions we make as members of a society. I had to go feed Ester.

When I returned from the kitchen Ester looked content lying in her crib. She had woken up while I was in the kitchen grabbing her mush. It felt ridiculous to feed her, kind of like what it must feel like to be a nurse spoon feeding someone in a coma, someone who would normally be confident and self-sufficient. I fed her regardless, and she took the food with some restraint, only nodding her head closer to the spoon and not grabbing at it or doing something ridiculous like another baby might. She never left a mess. Her face was completely clean. I looked into her eyes, inside them was the unaware wisdom of some celestial object. Existing outside total human comprehension, but still observable. I never know what Ester is thinking, which makes my job of caring for her both difficult and rewarding. She’ll ask for food, but she won’t escalate. Maybe she’ll raise a tiny fist and squeeze at the air, or she’ll open up her mouth widely and flop her jaws at nothing. She rarely escalates beyond simple motions and small complaints.

When I was younger I was surrounded by people who were what I’d call “needy.” People that raise their hand when they have a question, people that go to the doctor every time they stub their toe, and people that complain about their day. I was a complainer myself, but after being around so many people like me I learned to hate them, and myself. Over time I understood and entered the lifestyle that stoicism entails. And I finally feel good about myself. It opened my third eye to see the good or the bad in people, too. While it is extreme, I see black and white in people. There are two types of people in this world, the complainers and the listeners. And I’m glad to say that my daughter, Ester, is a listener.

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