When I was a senior in high school my sister Cathy was born. She was 17 years younger than me (I am the oldest of four boys) and my only sister. I had my three brothers but this experience was new for all of us--a baby girl in our family! My mother was 43 (almost 44) years old at the time of her birth.
I can remember feeling a little awkward when my mother was pregnant. It's not too common to be a senior in high school waiting for a new sibling to arrive. I thought about having joked with my friends: "Yep, that's my mom--the pregnant one!"
When my sister was born we all realized that God had given us a very special gift. As I held Cathy in my arms as a baby, it hit me that this might be the closest I would ever get to having a child of my own. I knew deep within my heart that God was calling me to be a priest and I was close to making the decision to enter the seminary. I knew that decision would mean not getting married or having children of my own.
I went to the hospital to see Cathy and her second son Evan after his birth. I held him in my arms and I thought once again of how I held my baby sister the same way after her birth. I thought: "I guess this is what grandparents go through when they see their grandchildren being born." God had given me the experience of feeling what it was like being a "grandparent" without ever having a child of my own! Awesome!
The gift of life is so precious. To see those tiny fingers, toes, nose and ears! So perfect, so beautiful!
Each October is designated as Respect Life Month. I pray that God instills in each of our hearts a deeper appreciation and respect for every life that has or will grace this earth.
And dear Lord--thanks for Evan!
Fr. Ed NamiotkaPastor