'At the dinner table last night, on the eve of his 8th birthday, Ian asked us an interesting question: "Can people have babies on purpose?"
Looking at that little boy, not long for the sevens, and recalling his now ancient history of mischief and stubborn independence, I so wanted to blurt out: "dear God, no baby is planned." Are you crazy? They arrive unexpected in sackcloths on the front porch or as boxed up consolation lottery prizes courtesy of the UPS man. Who in their right mind would script such an undertaking? I'm sure part of my thinking was a stall tactic - who on earth wants to answer a 7 year-old at the dinner table when he asks if babies have histories more authentic than the tooth fairy?
Fortunately, my wonderful wife chimed in and let him know that conversation was a bit more complicated than a dinner time chat.
You think? (I'm sure she's as aware as I am that question is not going away in this guy's mind anytime soon)
The truth is Katie should have bragged out loud that both of her babies were part of a grand plan. Hers and God's and a faithful reliance that they both knew what they were talking about. And in the case of Ian - it was a plan steeped in both boldness and love.
The very long story short - Katie's first planned baby - our Elliott - didn't arrive as planned. Emergency operations and a few tense moments that put both mom and baby in peril - that was not what we had rehearsed. It was never the end or the beginning of the fairy tale we wrote for the day we would become first time parents. But that was our story.
I had never admired my wife's courage and other worldly strength - her devotion to life - more than I did that day.
That is, until, knowing all of the potential risks involved, not from mere possibility but from anxiously living them out, she decided she wanted to have another baby. On purpose. I always say she knew how much she would love Ian long before he got here. She knew how much he'd unconditionally love her and would forever be a mama's boy - even and especially as an 8 year-old - when she placed his being here with us over every risk she personally faced to make it so.
The day Ian was born I once again admired my wife and our boys' mom more than ever. To this day I can't look at either of them without knowing everything she went through to make them so. It adds more to the value of their lives than I could ever dream of contributing.
And boy oh boy does it make me grateful we lost that lottery. That's my story Ian, and for right now I'm sticking to it.