T-Minus 12 Days (or Thereabouts) and Counting
Anna’s due date is in less than two weeks. All along we’ve sort of thought she might go early since this is the second baby. The midwife is acting pretty much like she’ll go late since she did with Sofie. Oy. On the one hand, if the baby is late, it might be born on Delane’s (Anna’s late brother who died last 17 December) birthday, 3 July. That would be nice. And my mom would sure like that since she’s flying up to see us over an extended Fourth of July trip and would be tickled to be here when the baby’s born. On the other hand, even being born past the due date, Sofie was born on the eve of the Feast of the Dormition, and this baby’s “scheduled to be born” on the eve of the Feast of the Apostles. It’d kinda be nice to keep the symmetry.
I remember this time two years ago, as I anticipated Sofie’s birth. There was the knotty stomach that couldn’t handle eating lunch. Frustrations with the well-meaning and the too-personal. And just overall flustered nervousness and anxiety.
Somewhat regretfully, this time around I’ve been so doggone busy writing papers that I lose touch with the stomach-flipping reality: I’m about to be a father . . . again. Of course, I won’t be fighting all the same battles as I did before (though I have been fighting all the worrisome thoughts of things-gone-wrong). Because of that, and due to my experience of nearly two years of fatherhood, I recognize how incompetent I am to be a father, and how undeserving. There is so much more awe and tear-filled gratitude these days when I dwell on these things. I am such a screw-up, yet God is gracing me with yet another child. I’m as still captivated by the biological processes of the growing child in utero as ever, but ever more stricken silent at the wonder-filled gift and unutterable responsibility of it all.
If anyone were ever tempted to the heresy of Pelagianism, surely fatherhood and its graces and obligations would cure one of such a contagion. The whole birthing thing is out of my hands. No matter my support and love it would all happen apart from me anyway. These thirty-odd weeks I could only watch at this unfolding of the work of God. Still–can you believe this?!–despite my uselessness, God stoops down to join my fumbling about with his most graceful acts.
This surely must be the essence and mystery of human fatherhood, and it undoes me every time I think of it.