What are little boys made of?
Snips, snails, and puppy dog tails. That’s what little boys are made of.
Slime, grime, and mud all the time. That’s what little boys are made of.
Youth, truth, and a missing front tooth. That’s what little boys are made of.
The test is small, the size of a pen. I’ve used one many times before this. But the result is always weighty. I felt it on my shoulders this time. Heavy. And I felt the smallness of my house, the weakness of my own arms, the onrushing responsibility of soul-raising threatening to close over my head.
But I took a deep breath. I tried to step out in faith, once again, and simply be amazed. And… I stepped on a lego. I stepped on a piece of cold spaghetti with a bare foot. I stepped on a sticky lump of I-hope-that-was-just-week-old-banana, and started to cry.
Because, believe it or not, I was surprised by the result of that test.
That pregnancy test.
And while the miracle of life was not lost on me, neither was the gravity.
I didn’t feel the urge to scream my news from the rooftops.
Folks at church will look at us and think, “I wonder if they know the Bible doesn’t say you can’t use birth control?” And folks at the grocery store will think, “She is to blame for global warming and those huge carts that clog the aisles.” And the folks at the doctor’s office will think, “I wonder if their insurance is coming out of our taxes?” And folks at the family reunion will think, “That right there is why we can’t meet at a fancy restaurant.” And folks at the playground will think, “We better keep our kids away from hers. Their weirdness might rub off.” And folks we call grandma will think, “Babysitting is getting more challenging…”
I was lost in my own thoughts as I pushed a sagging cart out of the grocery store that week. A grandmotherly lady stopped us with a glowing smile. “I love seeing you in here,” she patted the baby on his pudgy hand and counted the blonde sea of heads. “I hope you’re not thinking of stopping!” She grinned. I took it as an excuse to sheepishly share the secret that burned in my throat (heartburn is rough in those early weeks of pregnancy.) “Oh no. Haha. There’s actually another…”
However she responded, I will never remember. Instead, I noticed a young hand suddenly grasp at my elbow. My eight year old looked up with shining eyes. He’d heard the secret. “Really, Mom?” He said as we pulled away from the smiling woman. “Really, are you pregnant?” I nodded, wondering how the oldest of now (gasp) 6 would feel at the news. He let out a whoop. “That. Is. Awesome!”
The other boys, engrossed in the challenge where you can only step on the sidewalk paint and not on the parking lot tar, were oblivious to his excitement. “That is the best news!” he gushed. “It’s like a present from God!”
I hugged him as bodies clambered into their seats around us. “I am so glad that you are glad.” I said sincerely. I was tickled to know that one who would be affected so directly was so happy. Of course, it didn’t change anything, but it was reassuring.
Sometimes it’s hard work not to be surprised by the cynicism and disapproval of others. I’m not surprised anymore by attitudes that think I’m doing the other children a disservice by having more offspring than I have hands for. But I was surprised when I realized that attitude was coming from myself!
I have been given the great honor of being called mother. Again. I will not dare to throw this gift back in the face of the Giver of life by being unthankful. No. Not for a moment. A new awe is coming over me. Again. Now I am surprised – by joy.
Sometimes it takes the mouths of babes – and frank, lanky eight year olds – to remind me to thank God for doing great big things in humble little packages.
We have been blessed. That’s the simple truth.
Rejoice with me!
burning marshmallows and making memories