My kid brother had a kid last week. More accurately, his wife, Lauren, did. I was an uncle once before for a brief time twenty years ago, but that was by marriage. This is the first child any of my brothers can claim credit for so far as I know.

Raya wasn’t supposed to arrive for another week but couldn’t wait. That’s a thing we have in common. I’m perpetually early too. I like to get on with it rather than procrastinating or waiting around.

When her father, Max, was born, I was halfway through senior year of high school. I made a couple sketches of him when he came home from the hospital. I’m old enough to be his father, though that’s not the type of relationship we’ve ever had.

There’s a flood of texts after the first announcement. Many from numbers I don’t recognize. Must be Lauren’s family. All reacting to photos I can’t see on my dumbphone. I turn the ringer off after awhile. Max emails me a couple pictures so I can share in their moment.

Baby pictures are strange. They mostly resemble other baby pictures except for when the baby is yours. I’ve never once recognized much in common between a newborn and either parent or grandparent. Only they themselves can see this. It’s okay. I have no feeling about it one way or the other. It’s not a life experience I will ever have so I have to believe those who are going through it.

After hearing the news, I made some breakfast, then went out into the alley behind the house and made a painting. I plan to send it to Max and Lauren in honor of Raya’s arrival once it dries. I don’t know if this is an appropriate present or whether it will mean anything to them, but this is how I react to and process just about everything that happens. I smear paint or pen marks across a flat surface about it.

I went through a bunch of old sketchbooks looking for those Max infant sketches and wound up throwing away a lot of shitty drawings. Throwing things away always makes me feel better. Maybe that’s in honor of my niece’s arrival as well.

I made a new page of old drawings from the ancient sketchbooks that I didn’t cull. These are available. Let me know if you’d like one.

I hope to meet Raya in person sometime later this summer. Maybe she’ll pose for a drawing.

I read a couple pages from Eugene Marten’s remarkable Layman’s Report into a microphone.

Listening to Myriam Gendron’s Ma Délire on repeat.