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Instant gratification is not a right

My cousin and his wife just welcomed their first child into the world today. Or maybe late last night–I don’t know for sure.

I know this only because I saw my cousin’s sister (also my cousin, but I figured I’d clarify) posted on Facebook about meeting the little one for the first time and never having seen a baby under a day old.

2 of the 3 comments that quickly followed demanded pictures. Like, now.

I, too, am curious to see what this little bundle of joy looks like. But really, I don’t expect pictures first thing. First thing is making sure mom and baby (and dad and possibly siblings) are doing okay. Second thing is saying congrats. (Okay, those first two are more or less interchangeable if one is posting on social media.) Third is understanding that new parents, especially first-time ones, might not be having an easy time.

As of posting, the baby is less than 48 hours old. My cousin and his wife are still probably tired and trying to adjust to there suddenly being three where there was once two. Maybe something minor has happened. (I doubt my cousin’s sister would have posted if something majorly bad had gone down.) Maybe they forgot their camera. Maybe their phones died (or don’t take pictures–such phones still do exist). Maybe they just, oh, I dunno… WANT SOME BLESSED PRIVACY.

Whatever their reasons, I am fully willing to be patient. I’m just happy the baby is out and about in this big, crazy world. I don’t expect pictures first thing, and I more or less grew up in an age where “pix now!” (with some sort of “please” tacked on if you’re lucky) has become the norm. And honestly, I’ve seen pictures of very newborn babies. In my opinion, they’re generally not all that cute; not in a typical way, at least. It’s more the miracle of the thing, I guess, that makes me want to see. (That, and, in this case, I don’t see these cousins all that often.)

The point is, this is about the newly-expanded family, and what they’re happy and comfortable with; not about pictures. Those pictures, if and when they come, are a privilege, not a right. But, like a lot of privileges technology presents us with, it is taken for granted as a right, and I’m not okay with that. (I also protest some… AT&T commercial, I think, that has the narrator say “I have the need–no, I have the right to be unlimited.” My response to both cases? No you bloody well do not. Learn to get by the way your cave-dwelling ancestors did for a bit and go learn to fish or something.)

Whatever the reason that pictures haven’t been posted yet, this new family, just like everyone else, deserves my respect for their privacy and their shifting responsibilities. And their sleep and sanity. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but my family’s well-being is worth more to me than a thousand pictures.

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