Possibly the only beginnings that do not scare me are babies and notebooks.

So here is another beginning, and it is another girl. She is tiny, in the way that all newborns are - small and tough and fighting. Oh yes, asserting her independence by not eating until she damn well feels like it. Finally someone has produced a miracle that is not blond or redhead, I tell my sister. Of course she just smiles.

Then I am saying that her face is so sweetly familiar. Of course, my sister says. She looks like my new baby. Silly. That is not why your daughter looks like someone I have always known. We are both convulsed with laughter when (teachers, the two of us) we realize she looks like the picture book illustrations of Jessica.

Just once I would like to explain this phenomenon of peace wafting babies. Really. Keep struggling for words to explain it, my sister and I curled on a couch with the smallest wisp of twisting comedian between us. Constantly face changing, raising eyebrows with deep consternation, pursing lips, squirming her butt way out back so we are again reduced to nonsense and laughter. These things are tops.

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