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Faith, Modern Perspectives, Motherhood, Young Married Mom

December 10, 2012

Dear Henry VII

Dear Henry,


Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: “The world was made for the glory of God.” St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things “not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and communicate it,” for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness . . .

Catechism of the Catholic Church 293


We are preparing to meet you in less than two weeks. At our last ultrasound, we could see that you are a very handsome little man. I know as your mom, I will probably always think that about you, but seriously—you are a good-looking baby. We will see you again this Friday. I think all is well with you. I hope it is.


When I was pregnant with your brother Jacob, I was nervous about caring for a newborn. If I had thought about it at the time, I probably would have said that I felt he was safer in the womb than he would be once he was born. I was following all the commonly held “do’s and don’t’s” of pregnancy, and couldn’t imagine anything would actually go wrong. Thank God it didn’t.


Having lost Ethan, I now feel like the safest place for you to be is in my arms. Part of that is because at half of your ultrasounds, the doctors noticed “normal variants” that prompted them to suggest further testing. That testing, had we chosen to do it, would have given us some knowledge, though not all of it would have been conclusive. (In fact, our real doctor could tell us simply by the sign of your open hand that you did not have Trisomy 18. No genetic testing necessary, thank you.) In the situations we might have found ourselves in, the only potential action to take would have been aborting you. That was never an option.


You are not physically perfect, I am sure. I am not perfect; your dad is not perfect; Jacob is not perfect. Yes, our vital organs work normally and without intervention. We have lived as long as we have without intensive medical care. But your dad and I both wear glasses and both wore braces. I have a drug allergy. Jacob has food allergies. None of these things define us; even if they were more severe, they would not define us. We are not perfect in the sense of “flawless,” but we do strive to be perfect in a different regard: that of being complete.


I can tell already, my dear, that you make our family more complete. I can’t safely glean much about your personality, but I know that you are exactly what we need. I can’t wait to watch your relationships with your brother and your dad unfold. I can’t wait to get to know you myself.


If I have learned anything this year, it is that my primary responsibility as your parent is twofold: one, to show you that you are unconditionally, irrevocably, eternally loved, and two, to help you build strong character. I want you to want good things for the right reasons. I want you to experience the world, always being mindful of the effects of your environment on your heart, mind, body, and soul.


Though I’m sure there will be surprises—you are a baby, but you are not Jacob; you are your own person—I feel more capable of handling them this time around. After a miscarriage and Jacob’s first hospital visit this year, I’ve seen proven what I already knew deep in my heart: that your daddy and I, together, can handle just about anything.


Our faith is what makes us strong. Our faith is what brought us to you—or perhaps you to us. I hope one day you choose this faith for yourself.


One of the greatest things about being your mom and getting to be with you every day is that I get the singular privilege, for at least a couple of years, of being the one person on the planet who will know you best. Your dad will be a very close second, of course. In time, maybe Jacob will know you best, in a different but very special way. Either way, it’s an honor for all of us, I can tell already.


You are to be born on the shortest day of the year. I remember your grandpa Karl once telling me that it was his favorite time of year: after that day the days just keep getting longer and longer and brighter and brighter. That’s the effect I expect you will have on our family. Every day we spend with you will be a little brighter than the last.


Little Henry, we are still working on solidifying your middle name. I want it to mean something big. Perhaps I’m overthinking it. Somehow you have already made “Henry” your own. I am praying every day that we choose what’s right.


I can’t wait to hold you, little guy. Once I do, I’m not sure how I’ll ever put you down. Once I see your face, I’m not sure how I’ll ever stop crying either—I expect tears of gratitude, joy, hope, a little pain that I didn’t get to hold Ethan that way, but most of all love.  Love for you, for our family, for our God who has blessed us so abundantly with you.


Jacob can’t wait for you to “come home,” which usually means “come to our house [to play with Jacob].” In this instance, we are, in fact, waiting for you to come home, waiting for you to make this place a better kind of home.


We are praying for you every day. God is good, my dear. We’ll see you really soon.


With love,


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