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Lines in the Sand

alec vanderboom

During my Lenten Spring Break trip, I went to Bob Evans with my Dad and his Dad (my 89 year old grandfather.) Jon offered to stay home with our wiggly, sun burned babies. So I had a rare night out alone.

I went into Bob Evans impossibly happy. My maternal grandmother and her sister graduated from high school with THE Bob from Bob Evans. I'd met the guy in the big hat at the original restaurant in Gallipolis, Ohio and heard lovely compliments about the lovely McCormick sisters. Ordering biscuits and hash browns at this chain restaurant has the easy familiarity of visiting a cousin's house for lunch.

So I settled down with my familiar Pot Roast Sandwich and listened contentedly to my grandfather talk. My Dad's youngest brother is 45 and his wife is newly pregnant. Uncle Ben married late and for a solid two years our family rosary has contained the intention "for Ben and Amy to have a baby." When my Dad called earlier last week to say "Guess who is having a baby!" my husband and I traded high-fives in front of our Marian alter.

I'm so excited about this new baby. I'm the oldest Rupp grandchild at 34. This little one, at seven weeks in utereo, will make grandbaby number 10. We've been a group of nine cousins for so long, it seems so sweet to make it number 10.

I think I had my mouthful, actually, as I excitedly toss out "So what about Ben becoming a Dad!"

There was this moment of confusion, because the news did go over well with my grandfather.

I have one of those rewind moments in my brain when I'm desperately trying to figure out how the conversation suddenly flipped around on me. Did I say something wrong? What happened?

Then my brain lands on this explanation: "it must be too early to talk about." Maybe my grandfather is super tied to this "don't talk about a baby until after the 3 month mark."

So stupidly, I swallow and start talking again "I know it's still early and no one knows how painful miscarriages are more than me. . . still this is such a beautiful sign of hope. For Ben and Amy to have a baby after three years, it's just miraculous. .."

I suddenly stop talking because it suddenly becomes apparent that no, it's not the "early announcement" that's the problem, it's the announcement itself that's the problem.

I had this horrible, horrible feeling in my belly.

I really almost started crying into my coleslaw.

I've accepted that no one in my family will be excited about us having another baby. We're too poor.

I just felt so sad. "Can't Uncle Ben have a baby?" My uncle. The guy who got married at 42, who struggled through three years of infertility, the youngest brother who took over the family insurance business and is super, super rich. Can't he have ONE baby? Can't we be excited that his wife is finally pregnant with what could be their one and only child?

The answer was "no."

And that made me so depressed.

I realized in this gross moment which was so intense that I will probably never eat a Bob Evan's Pot Roast sandwich again-- That it's all Lines in the Sand.

Lines in the Sand.

You can say your not excited about a baby because a family has too many children too close together. Or because they don't have enough money saved for future college educations. Or because a family is poor.

But it's all lines in the sand.

Because eventually there will be "the perfect" set of parents who get pregnant, the ones who meet all of your personal and all of society in general criteria for having a baby. When that happens, you still won't be excited.

Being Pro-Life is a black or white thing. Your either excited about new life or you aren't. If you've got all these internal "issues" with genetic testing for unhealthy fetuses or people having babies who can't afford them, these are really just signs that you personally have issues with babies.

Today President Obama may overturn limits on embryonic stem-cell research. That hurts me also. I'll be praying hard today for Our President and all our Catholic representatives.

Thank heavens for new life!