Until this year, I never realized how close the first day of Autumn (September 23rd) and the first day of the Jewish New Year (sunset of September 28th) are to each other on our calendar. While the greenness of Spring symbolizes a new beginning for many, it is the Fall season that has always best represented newness of life to me.
Yes, there are the more obvious images of Autumn that make us feel good: the scorching heat of Summer finally dies, Starbucks brings back their pumpkin flavored drinks, our favorite TV shows premiere their new seasons, and the glory of American football becomes inescapable. Sure, we have to suffer the upcoming time change, but there’s a certain calmness and quietness to the Fall season that charms me every year.
This Autumn is especially like a new year for me. After nearly a year without it, my family is officially back on insurance again through Vanderbilt University- that gives me such a necessary peace of mind!
And within the next week or so, we will be moving back into our townhouse. (We’ve been staying with good and gracious friends since we moved back to Nashville in July.)
My son will turn a year old in November; so the Fall season will transform my infant into a toddler. And a few weeks before his birthday, we will finally get to see him in his awesome Halloween costume… a sea otter! (Random enough?)
As if it wasn’t obvious, Autumn is (and always has been) my favorite season. So as Nick Drakes plays on my iPod in the background, I proudly sound my imaginary shofar in celebration of a particular new year.
Baby Jack is starting to kick now. Of course I’m assuming that he’s also simply moving around and turning inside there as well- not just kicking. So it may not be his foot, but instead his elbow, or even his head that my wife and I are feeling. This morning in my less-than-conscious-waking-state-of-mind, my wife placed my hand on her stomach, saying, “Do you feel him moving?” I did.
And as real as this is, that our son is actually inside there, so lively, it’s still ingrained in my brain somehow Baby Jack is light years away, floating around in a heavenly baby universe until November. Despite feeling him with my own hand, with just centimeters separating the skin of my hand and the skin of his body, despite him literally being a matter of a few feet away (or less, depending on how near I am to my wife), I’m having trouble grasping that in reality, he’s right there.
Jack’s body is the length of a banana.
Not in another world. But here.
Here’s what The Bump says this week:
“Baby gulps down several ounces of amniotic fluid every day, both for hydration and nutrition and to practice swallowing and digesting. And, these days, those taste buds actually work! Studies show that after birth, babies are most interested in tastes they’ve already experienced through amniotic fluid. Meaning, think about what you want your future child to eat as you prepare your own lunch.”
My expectations of what it will be like for my wife and I to have a real baby are pretty limited. When I try to imagine it, I can only think about a few things: the baby crying, the baby being hungry, feeding the baby, the baby wanting to be held, holding the baby, the baby pooping, changing the baby’s diapers, the baby sleeping, us wishing we could sleep.
And aside from the 80’s sitcom stereotypes, I of course am well aware, thanks to everyone who has ever been a parent and given me any advice: There’s nothing in the world more rewarding than being a parent.
In November I will begin to feel like a real parent (once the kid is born). Until then I won’t really truly be able to understand or fathom this most rewarding thing in the world.
It’s funny to think that eventually we won’t be comparing our baby to the size of a certain fruit. (This week our baby is the size of a naval orange.) Eventually, our baby will be the size of a baby. Interesting thought.
We have a new doctor. Actually, a group of them: Midwife nurses (http://www.vanderbiltnursemidwives.org/). Things are the exact opposite as they were at the other place. It’s so important to know that the people taking care of us actually care about us. Friendly, informative, patient people there to help us. Last week for our visit, we got to hear the heartbeat for the fist time, thanks to a Doppler device.
Whoot-whoot. Whoot-whoot. Like listening to the sound effects of an Atari game played in a submarine. A bit eerie, a bit awesome.
Our baby’s heartbeat is 150. Supposedly, that’s typically the speed of a female heartbeat.
In addition to trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am responsible for causing another human’s heart to beat, creating physical life, I am also fathoming the thought that I am responsible for causing a soul to exist as well.
It’s just a theory, and not even an important theological one at that, but I believe that the soul is passed on through the man, not the woman. Jesus’s father was the Holy Spirit, not Joseph. While his mother Mary was completely human. And Jesus didn’t have a sin nature like his half-brothers and sisters born after him.
I take a certain verse quite literally, Romans 5:12, that says, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned”.
Humankind wasn’t cursed when Eve ate the Forbidden Fruit. It wasn’t until she offered it to Adam and he ate it that God kicked them out of Paradise, took away their eternal life, caused women to have labor pains, and forced men to have to work hard for their food.
From that point on, the human soul (complete with a natural tendency to do wrong) has been passed on through all generations through the man, with the exception of Jesus who was fathered by the Holy Spirit.
So if that theory is indeed correct (and no one in this lifetime can know for sure), then I accept the gravity of it, as best as I physically can: Another human being with an eternal, spiritual soul, will take its first breath this coming November because of me. (Of course, Lord willing.)
The word “legacy” is an understatement here.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: