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Various Veins

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Back in July this year the world's attention was focused on Great Britain, concerned about the Duchess of Cambridge. She was past the nausea, hyperemesis gravidarium (HG) that kept her in hospital for some time.

Not until this condition afflicted a duchess did I ever hear of such an impressive ailment. I had observed Martha going through morning sickness five times, but that was just the common cost of creating new life.

The burning question was will Kate deliver the baby in the age-old way or opt for the popular, at least among those wealthy enough or covered by insurance, caesarian section. If I had been directing my full attention in her direction I'd have sent mental telepathic urging toward the natural course. There are thought to be costs to the children who bypass nature's way of introducing them to planet Earth.

But like probably a host of others, my attention was directed elsewhere.

To be frank, I doubt that the excitement over Kate's and Will's family expectations reached millions outside the British Commonwealth and the United States, but that's another story.

What diverted me? I knew of a young couple living in Windsor, Ont., who were going through the same experience as Will and Kate. Their news trickled in via e-mail and family grapevine. Julie's delivery date is on or about the end of September. Ian is thinking of finding a home in a neighborhood with better social conditions for child rearing. His concern looks far ahead to educational advantages. In short, Michael's son, our grandson is going to be a great father.

By the end of May Julie had been free of morning sickness for a month. There had been no mention of HG.

Late in June an invitation to a baby shower arrived via Canada Post. It was a work of art that can be kept in a scrap book, not an electronic cloud of binary info as ephemeral as fog.

Great Grandma Martha longed to be part of the joy but she had to send her gift and good wishes with Peg and Jane. Men, as I recall, were offered off stage diversion.

As September grew old the phone calls, text messages and e-mails grew from a trickle to a river. Where's the baby?

In one reply Ian hoped it would arrive in a day or two. Julie hoped it would have arrived two weeks ago.

On the fourth day of October Ian announced via e-mail the arrival of Lucas Ross Andrews at 11:36 a.m. weighing seven pounds thirteen ounces. A picture accompanied the message, a smiling mother looking at her new son, wrapped in a blue knitted shawl, a matching cap on his head, cradled in her arms.

Lucas, less than an hour from birth, is contemplating something, his smile the reflection of his mother's. I am reminded of portraits of the Madonna and child.

A week later Lucas is presented to his great grandparents on his father's side. Martha cradles him in her arms and murmurs, "He's the most beautiful baby I've ever seen."

Great uncles and aunts, cousins, exchange glances. I reassure them that there's no cause for concern. Only yesterday we had a deuce of a time identifying a baby in a picture frame. No one had written the name on the back of the photo. Finally found evidence it was of Jordan, but it could have been one of several family members.

To her credit, Martha had been stoutly saying, "It's Jordan."

Lucas will never be a king, but we are encouraged to expect great things from a child who in his first hour can exhibit the power of quiet contemplation.

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