People naturally ascribe human traits to the inanimate and animals, so it stands to reason that babies would be no different. Previously, I’d have called a twitch of a baby’s mouth exactly that – a twitch. Now, though, every little tick and curl of the lips is a smile. See look, my daughter is smiling. She’s happy. I’m a good dad. You all saw it, right?
This idea got me thinking that being a parent is a lot like being a storyteller, with mum, dad or guardian heaping meaning on every little movement, gesture or expression. Given our daughter isn’t even two weeks old yet, it’s doubtful she’s even aware of the movements she’s pulling. Everything is still sensation and instinctive. Yet even still, when she squints one eye and pulls what appears to be a half smile, I can’t help but think of it as a Han Solo impression.
Human beings are born storytellers, and I really believe that our evolution is thanks, in part, to our ability to craft narrative, make art and carry stories across continents. It’s why even in a world of incredible technology that we still respond to ancient tropes and mythology. So, Star Wars appeals to that deeper need for stories that echo millennia of telling them. And, in doing so, the franchise has become its own mythology and taken on new meaning.
No doubt as my daughter grows, I’ll continue to place meaning on every gesture or expression she makes. Such is my need as a new parent, and just as a person in search of stories.