Don’t ask me to predict the gender of the child you’re expecting
My Mom and Dad had four sons. My older brother, Gary, and his first wife had three sons.
When Mary Beth and I were expecting our first child, neither of us hoped for one gender or the other. We just wanted a baby. But the law of averages told me “girl,” and that is what I predicted. We named him Eric. When we were expecting our second child, I only picked out girls’ names. Surely this had to be a girl. We named him Daniel. With number three on the way, I made bets with all kinds of people, sure that we were about to give my mom a granddaughter. Kyle is his name. Awaiting the fourth, I finally abandoned predictions. We had so many hand-me-downs that another boy would be quite practical. Along came Brady.
I was quite comfortable having sons. I spoke their language, and they spoke mine. I understood the importance of riding a bicycle off the end of our dock in one’s underwear. I could not fault them for ruining our VCR camera during the making of a home movie. I proudly watched a four-year-old Kyle crawl up on Santa’s lap and ask for a bullwhip and the ability to fly before being set down and pointed back to his parents. It all made sense to me.
Our oldest son and his wife had a boy.
But two years later they had a girl, and I was deathly afraid of her. I think she knew it. She didn’t want to be within sight of me. I would try to hold her as she wailed and reached for her mommy with tears in her eyes. I wondered aloud if we would ever negotiate a peace.
Somehow we overcame our fear of one another. I discovered that I like princesses. A lot. And I like “Tinkerbelle Tea,” which Mariela pretends to brew for me, served with a plastic cookie or brownie. She likes to be read to. She greets me with a kiss on the cheek. She cries when Mary Beth and I leave their Washington home after a visit. She has taught me a great deal. She has a sister and another brother now. I’m no longer afraid.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, let’s thank God, especially during the Christmas Season, for the precious gifts of family and friends.
Curt Hanson, Director of Stewardship and Development, Diocese of Saint Cloud