Yesterday I took advantage of a beautiful afternoon and went for a walk with my 11-year-old son. We left our car in a parking lot and sauntered from one end of our small town to the other and back again.
We had a terrific time. But let’s be honest, any adventure that begins with ice cream, ends with tacos and features a visit to RadioShack is a blockbuster hit.
Not long after we began doubling back to our car, my son noticed something unusual in the gravel near some hibernating train tracks that slice through town.
He stopped to poke it with a stick and I continued moving along. When I looked over my shoulder and invited him to catch up, he was locked on his gold find like a 49er.
(Disclosure: This isn’t just an inquisitive child, this is a boy who makes Curious George look risk-averse. In fact, if that monkey of mayhem had a birthday party, The Man with the Yellow Hat might think twice about sending my kid an invite.)
I turned around and walked back to hear him wondering aloud about the mysterious object. He was even more intrigued when he flipped it over. “What are those lines?” he asked.
I bent down and looked. “Wow,” I said. “It’s a pregnancy test.”
“Are you positive?”
Yes, I thought. And so are the results.
Thankfully, he’s had “the talk” and has an age-appropriate understanding of what happens when a man and a woman love each other very, very much. Still, the questions fell like April showers.
As we resumed our stroll, we had a wondrous conversation. As in, “I wonder how the test works? I wonder why she threw it out the window? I wonder if she’s happy to be having a baby?”
I began to think too, but as he speed-chatted as only an 11-year old boy can, my mind began to both wonder and wander.
How old is she? Is she alone? Is she married? Is she afraid? Is it unplanned? Is she excited?
Or, is she terrified to tell her parents because she’s practically still a child herself?
Is she busy texting friends? Is she sharing the news on social media? Is she contemplating baby names?
Or, is she hiding the news like a secret under oversized shirts and a missed girls’ night out?
Is she looking forward to seeing a doctor in 20 weeks to determine whether the onesies and blankets will be blue or pink?
Or, because she sees no other options, is she thinking of visiting a doctor for other reasons?
Naturally, none of this is my business or yours. Nevertheless, as I allowed these questions to quietly grow inside me and find a life of their own, I couldn’t help but say a silent prayer for this woman – whomever she might be.
Whatever she’s experiencing, whatever decisions she might be making about life, family and future, I hope she knows how much God loves both her and the child she carries.
I hope she knows that life has, indeed, begun.
I hope she knows that God has big plans for the baby inside her. He wants that child to grow, to be loved, nurtured, taught and tested. And whether by biological mother or another, God wants that baby hugged, kissed and prayed for and with.
I hope she knows that whether this is her first or her fifth, that child will be unique from any other in the history of the world. And while that baby’s physical DNA comes in part from her, the spiritual DNA comes from God.
I hope she knows that it will be tough, but worth it. Sure, there will difficult days. But while a few are brutal, many more are beautiful.
I hope she knows that one day she just might find herself clutching the hand of that child and walking along that same road where a pregnancy test once lay. She and the child might talk about life, love, dreams and ice cream. And she’ll realize she loves something that began as a line on a stick so much she’d now give her life for it – just as someone else once did for all of us.
Maybe more than anything, I hope she knows that while she can’t always hold her child’s hands on sunny, springtime strolls, God will always hold hers.
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