Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One of Us

I can't stop thinking about this video and I'll tell you why...

I am nearly 32 weeks along with this pregnancy and we know we are having a little boy. I don't know exactly what he'll look like, but I have some idea. He'll have his own unique take on it, but he'll look like a "Temple Boy" because he is one. He's a part of this family as much as any of our born children and his brothers seem to know it instinctively. They are passionately inclusive of this youngest brother, these boys, and won't hear of it when a stranger remarks on the five. "No, there are SIX of us," they correct everyone and anyone and they will correct a second or third time if necessary with a tone of exasperation: Why won't people understand that there are six of us?

They stand around me after dinner one night, these brothers, each with a hand on my belly waiting--silent and still--hoping that they will be the one to feel an ankle, an elbow, a turn. I look at the expectation on their faces, these five boys crowded around me and take a mental picture. I hope to capture the moment forever in my memory, burn it vividly and accurately onto the slate of my imagination. These are special times, these days of anticipation, these are the days I hope to recall in my old age.

This little Temple Boy has a name and we call him by his name. There is a nearby street that bears this name and my heart skips a beat whenever I see it. I love to see the letters printed like that, just as I once loved to write my first name next to my future husband's last name in the margins of my Aristotle books during drowsy, late afternoon college classes years ago. Suzanne Temple-- this name, so new, promised a lifetime of love. Baby Temple's name promises the same.

Every Sunday at church now, Nicholas rests his head on my belly during the homily and Baby Temple kicks him in the ear repeatedly. "Do you feel the baby?" I ask Nicholas when he doesn't pull away in surprise. "Uh, hu" Nicholas nods as though it is the most normal thing in the world. It happens every Sunday, after all, and Nicholas knows these little kicks, even expects them. Nicholas knows there is a baby in there who will soon be born.

Zachary notices a baby girl in a car seat in the row ahead of us. "Mama, we need a carriage like that one, but not pink," he tells me a little louder than I'd like, "And a stroller... and more bibs." Yes, yes we do. Shhhh... Zachary knows we have a baby to prepare for.

This is a baby, a human, a child, a brother, a son. He is ours and belongs to us and we belong to him. This is not a part of my body to do with as I please, this is a unique human being with rights of his own endowed by his Creator, inalienable rights which begin with the right to life.

I packed a picnic the other day for my husband and sons because I knew I had to be somewhere that night. Along with sandwiches and chips, I packed a six pack of those little half cans of soda for the children. My husband told me later that when he distributed the cans, the boys cracked their sodas and without prompting proposed a toast "to the new baby" "here, here" and they clanked their cans together all around, drinking to littlest member of their six pack of boys.