Feeble Knees

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Uncharted Territory, Part II

God's been sending some unbelievably adorable babies into my life recently. They stare into my eyes with innocent wonder and start weaving that baby spell. I laugh and tell them "I know who you are! You're a little baby double agent. Your mission is to make me want a little guy just like you."

Some of these baby agents have grown into young child agents. One in particular, the little five year old daughter of some friends of ours is doing a very good job. When I see her, she runs up into my arms and buries her face in my shoulder. Then she reads to me - a whole story! We play with Legos and talk about her week at school. Last summer, she would take a watering can and sprinkle cool water from her kiddie pool onto my bare feet and squeal with delight. Mr. Feeble and I took her and her Mum to go see some fireworks and a parade last fourth of July. Things that seem so banal when you're an adult become magic all over again when a child sees them for the first time.

My own nephews are convincing me. Now young men themselves, they are growing and changing and pursuing their dreams. One is about to married (I was eleven when he was born), another has become a serious music student. Another is proving his passion and talents for all things automotive - he'll probably be able to buy and sell the lot of us someday. They're making their folks proud, making their ways in the world with big dreams and youthful optimism. It may be the hardest job in the world to raise responsible, happy and well adjusted kids, but I'm beginning to realize it's not impossible. (Oh me of little faith!)

This past summer a couple of medical issues came up that put having children into doubt. We learned that I have a gene defect that causes a fatal condition. If Mr. Feeble also had it, the chances were 1 in 4 pregnancies that our child would be affected. Let me tell you, it was a looooong wait while we waited for the results of Mr. Feeble's test. During the wait, I seriously contemplated what life would be like if we decided not to have children. The world suddenly seemed colorless and dull. I'd look out on the big back yard of our home and see it just as something to be mowed and maintained - a lot of work for little reward. Our quiet, out of the way street no longer felt like a safe haven from traffic, a place where you could draw hopscotch squares or play street hockey. It just felt lonely. Our house suddenly seemed too big for just us. Something to be cleaned and maintained, not a homestead. I thought of all the little traditions we'd started, and how we talked about passing them down. Memories of the little knit sweaters and caps, safely wrapped in tissue by my mother-in-law's anxious hands visited me. The dainty white and pale yellow hand-knit treasures spoke to me of her fervent desire for grandchildren she won't see this side of heaven. But someday...

When suddenly faced with the thought that we might never be able to have children of our own, I realized just how important it was to me that we could. The days and hours until we got the second set of test results dragged on. By the time the phone rang a week and a half later, I could hardly breathe.

Negative! They said negative!

The relief was immediate and tremendous and left me alternately laughing and crying. You would have thought I was getting a clean bill of health for a living child, not just the promise of one. Later that night I was quiet and considered these new feelings in my heart. It felt like a victory for a child we didn't even have yet, and indeed I found myself thinking about an actual child, one of our own. It didn't seem so strange or foreign to me anymore. It felt like family.

A few years ago, Joy, my friend who wants ten children, underwent emergency surgery that would save her life, but ultimately severely limit her chance of ever having children. She drifted in and out of sedated sleep afterwards while I sat by her hospital bed, railing at God in my heart. It seemed like the sickest cruelty that could befall her, this one whom God had given such a big heart and delight for little ones. It should have been me, I thought. Later I confessed this to Joy, that I felt so guilty for being healthy and whole when I didn't have the desire that she did for children. She smiled sadly, and said something lost to time and tears.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

We had our first "false alarm" this weekend. I was five days late. Being the neurotic control freak I am, I'd already gone through two home pregnancy tests when the definitive proof that I'm not pregnant arrived on Sunday. It was a sad thing, and I was surprised again by the depth of my feelings.

I'm thankful for God's preparation, for all the circumstances, people, babies, and moments that led us to this point. Only He knows what happens next. But at long last, I think I'm ready.

Joy called the other day. Before I could even say "hey", she blurted out: "Pregnant yet?!?! Come on you two, I want a baby. It's about time you know."

Indeed, so it is. So it is. :)

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