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Present Perfect
By Linda Germain

My Granny did not like to talk on the telephone. Making that long distance call to me in the spring of 1982 had to be of vital importance to her.

"Now listen to me," she admonished in her most grandmotherly tone from five hundred miles away. "Your mother told me you were taking fertility drugs. I am not sure exactly what those are, but I want you to stop right now."

She was a time tested prayer warrior and I trusted her implicitly. It was a good thing I had taken the last dose. At ten dollars a pill, and at the risk of multiple births, this baby project was getting expensive.

My husband and I returned to the specialist and watched him shake his head as he read the condemning numbers on my chart. His final diagnosis was a non-negotiable dismissal.

"With these unpredictable hormones, the chances of starting a family are zero to none."

The door did not close quietly. It slammed shut. The reverberations were deafening.

In May of 1983, my darling Granny passed away. It had been a year since she had called with the urgent instruction to cease all chemical interference with this production. Her words were carved in the Rock on which I stood. I thought I was immovable, but my faith was beginning to wane.

By the spring of 1984, thoughts of little booties no longer danced in my head. The lurking grief of an empty womb seized my heart with no warning.

"Oh Lord," I sobbed, "You said we do not have because we do not ask. I promise a child will be raised in the knowledge of You. I promise he will be loved beyond measure. Granny said…"

A few days later I was overcome with the worst nausea of my life.

"This must be the flu," I moaned.

You would think a woman who had been praying for a blessed event; who had even helped to deliver a few, would have been less dense, but I did the home test routine with little hope that one more would be any different. That sad old story was about to change.

Shouting is a natural response to a delightfully positive report. I could not seem to stop saying, "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Lord."

I needed to share these glad tidings with the man who would be called Dad, but the news was far too important for a premature announcement. As we packed the car for a two-hour drive to spend the weekend with relatives, I fought to push down the desire to giggle or dance or knit something small.

I had accepted a proposal of marriage on a big boulder at the lake, so the ideal scenario for sharing a developing baby story was built around that firm foundation theme which resonated deeply within me.

My eyes strained to leave no stone unturned as we breezed past creeks and mountain streams. I was desperate to find the perfect, quiet place to herald our child’s existence and rock the new father’s world.

As soon as we were in the guest room I began pacing the floor, with one hand over my heart.

He stepped in front of me. "Is something wrong?"

"Well, yes and no."

I was crying and wringing my hands; dramatic behavior for the wife he assumed was of a more unruffled nature.

"Okay," he said in worried-husband response, "what happened?"

He probably thought I had signed him up for dance lessons or had washed his wallet for the third time.

"I have something important to tell you, but I couldn’t find a rock!"

His bewildered expression was almost comical.

"Were you going to hit me in the head first?"

I tried to joke, "No, but you’ll probably feel like I did."

I took a deep breath, and with no preamble to soften the shock, plunged right to the punch line.

"We’re going to have a BABY!"

He was dumbfounded. "You…you mean a baby?"

He obviously needed irrefutable proof. We decided not to tell the family until a blood test confirmed the diagnosis. Cloud nine was miles below where I was floating in joyous expectancy.

The Obstetrician stared at fresh laboratory results but his voice betrayed no emotion. "I want to be sure this is not a false positive."

Let him check. I knew what I knew. I gave him my best Mona Lisa smile.

In the fun, creative place in my mind, and certainly with no adherence to theological soundness, I envisioned Granny arriving in Heaven and going straight to the baby department, her clear blue eyes twinkling as she looked over the crop.

"Linda Kaye will have THAT one, since he is so adorable, healthy, and smart. Please gift wrap him."

After the initial queasiness, I felt wonderful every second of the gestation. On December 25, 1984, I woke up looking forward to services at church. Silly girl. This was Labor Day.

Mr. Dad scrambled six eggs for me. He said I needed protein for energy.

My family set up camp in the small hospital waiting room and my dear mother-in-law called from Florida every few hours. The end of the birthing drama was in sight when, exhausted and unable to be nice for one more second, I demanded, "Unhook all this stuff attached to me. I am going HOME!"

I realized it was way too late to implement that escape plan when I heard myself announce quite clearly that I intended to yell extra loud and no one could stop me, so I did; and then a wee little voice did too.

When it was time to take our perfect present home to be cradled with love, the hospital nursery presented him to us in a huge, red flannel stocking. I like to think of it as gift-wrapping.

Several years after our special delivery, a new doctor presented my medical history as a case study at a conference held in another country. They had no answers either. Thankfulness is more important than understanding. That beautiful baby was born for a reason, and today, at 6’4" tall, he is still a blessing whose parents will always be overjoyed with love for him, never ceasing to pray for God’s perfect will in his life.

Our precious son did his best to appear at the birthday celebration of the Savior. He arrived at thirty-six minutes after midnight on December 26.

The anniversary of his great-grandmother’s birthday is December 27. That puts him right between Jesus and Granny. I like to think he had been there all along.
Linda Germain has been a voracious reader from childhood and always enjoyed writing. She spent several years as a Registered Nurse, then returned to school to complete a degree in English. Linda has published articles and stories, and been a FaithWriters’ Magazine department editor. She is currently attending Bible College part time as she seeks God’s direction.