Out of the mouths of babes
My Darling Michael:
What an interesting couple of months it has been. As always, your curiosity and quest for knowledge has led you to ask many questions and resulted in my searching for the best answers. It all began in April at the March for Life. You knew we were going to Ottawa for the March for Life and you understood that by participating in this event, we were saying that we supported all life, from the moment of conception until natural death. But you did not ask any more questions until the first night when we were walking around Ottawa. We passed someone carrying a placard that said “It is a baby not a choice” and had a picture of a baby in-utero. After you read the words on the sign, you responded with, “That’s silly. Who doesn’t know that?” My response was that everyone should know it, but not everyone believes it and we were here to remind all Canadians of that truth. We hope that the people on Parliament Hill heard us and will do something positive with the information.
You continued to ask questions and the discussion led to abortion. Though I know the technical answers and knew someday we would be having this discussion, I hadn’t planned for it to be happening as we were walking around Ottawa. I know that the best way to answer a child’s question is to answer it directly. If a child wants any more information or clarification, he will ask. However, providing him with an overload of information will often confuse the answer and a child will leave with no more correct information than he began with. So I answered your questions as you posed them. From “Why wouldn’t a woman be ready for a baby?” to “Why would someone kill a baby?” from “If it is against the law to kill someone, then how come they don’t go to jail?” to the toughest of all, “How do they kill the baby?” With your questions answered, you pointed out the tomb of the unknown solider and we continued on our way. Although you were momentarily distracted by the statue of a soldier, I knew the discussion was not done, but that you needed some time to process the information and sort out what else you wanted to know.
I was not sure if it would be that day or next year before we had another discussion on abortion, but for the time being, I was leaving the ball in your court. The next day on Parliament Hill, you began to show me how much of the information you had taken in. There were two girls standing on the hill with a sign that said, “My body, my choice.” You read the sign and turned to me with your big blue eyes exclaiming, “They are right. It is their body, but nobody has a choice to kill anyone.” I was immediately reminded of our Kindergarten classroom when I was pregnant with your sister. Everyone in our room knew unequivocally that what was growing inside me was a baby and those of us on the outside needed to protect it. I wished someone could answer my question of how and when people went from knowing how precious life was to believing it was a women’s right to have an abortion.
We finished our trip in Ottawa and came home with no further discussion of abortion – until the election began. During the election, in their homilies and announcements, our priests reminded us of the necessity to vote with our church’s teaching on moral issues in mind. This meant voting for candidates who supported life from the moment of conception. Your response was that, “It is too bad people need to be reminded.” Then, the issue of abortion became a front-page news story. People were discussing abortion in the papers, on the radio and on the television. You wondered if that meant they had heard us on Parliament Hill. Well, election day arrived and with great excitement you entered the voting booth with your dad. He showed you what was involved in the process of voting and you exited the polling station saying, “I hope the good guys win.” I was not able to get you to explain your full criteria for what a political “good guy” is; however, you did tell me it was someone who wouldn’t let people kill babies, who helped mommies stay at home and who didn’t make us pay so much in taxes. I felt a sense of pride and humour in knowing not only how much you had taken in, but what a miniature version of your dad you were turning into.
When you woke up the next morning, daddy told you the election results. Explaining that some, but not all, pro-life candidates had won, you became very quiet. After a few moments you simply looked up and said, “Darn!”
I think that sums it up so well. No excuses, no trying to reason, just simple disappointment. We have yet to discuss abortion again since the election, but I know it will come. I am looking forward to standing beside you next year on Parliament Hill during the March for Life, answering any questions and working hard so that after the next election, I will emphatically hear you say, “YES”!
May you continue to grow in peace: