For five children and me, times were dark. Then one of them lit a candle. You can light up a dark room, you know, with just a bit of humor.
A mere two months after their father left, my ten-year-old daughter told a story to her friends on the school playground. And because of our family history, they believed her.
That evening, my phone rang.
As I said, “hello,” my friend cried out, “Is it true?”
“Are you having another baby?”
My daughter had told my friend’s daughter that the number of siblings in our tribe would increase. My friend and I pondered a moment.
Then we understood.
It was April 1.
Grace under fire. A child showed me what those words meant.
Thirteen years later, my phone rang once more. I knew at hello this call had joy in it. This same daughter had a wonderful lilt in her voice as she told me she and her husband were expecting their second child.
But a few months later, my phone rang again. A blood test had come back positive. Perhaps the child would have Down Syndrome. Doctors wanted to do a more invasive test.
“Come over for dinner tonight,” I said. “We can talk about it.” I knew that the test was not without risk. And the risk could be greater than the value of the information gained.
But when they got there, there was little to discuss. They wanted no part in an invasive test. They would welcome whoever was coming in whatever condition he would come.
“I would rather have a Down baby than no baby at all,” she said.
A few months later my phone rang once more. This time in the middle of the night.
It was time.
At the hospital, her labor seemed stuck. We walked around the hallway once. Then things began to happen quickly. So quickly that an emergency room physician rode up in the elevator just in time to attend the delivery.
A beautiful boy emerged. Perfect in every way.
What had the false test recognized? Not an extra chromosome. Perhaps an extra dose of talent and wit?
But the gift he is today would not be less if he had one more chromosome. It would only be different.
We are no less perfect in each of our imperfections.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”