What The Children Know
We stopped at the booth at the fall fair and we collected elastic bracelets and balloons. The girls were attracted by the balloons, but I stopped to talk with the man with the passion. The passion for preserving life.
I picked up the bookmark that proclaims the message of life from conception to natural death. I know there is a war being waged and there are lives being lost daily in a battle against apathy, self-interest and convenience.
I follow my girls, bopping through the crowd with their balloons proclaiming life, and they don't understand the message they are waving directly in the faces of the people we are passing. At least, not until we get home and we are snuggled up for a bedtime story and they are holding their balloons and they remove their bracelets and discover that they are in the shape of a fetus in a womb and the questions begin.
"Mom, why does the balloon say, 'I love life'?"
"Why are the bracelets in the shape of a little baby?"
I look at these faces I love. These flesh and blood children who filled me until I thought I couldn't contain any more. I was spellbound at the first sound of their tiny heartbeat. I wanted to know all the stages of their development as they grew within me. I couldn't wait to meet them from the moment the pregnancy test confirmed what I already knew.
And now I look at these two sets of blue eyes looking intently at me, asking me these questions and I just don't want to tell them that there is a war going on and they were allowed life because they were wanted and desired, but there were others - there are others - who everyday lose the battle. Their tiny heartbeat is stilled and no one blinks an eye. No one feels the horror. It is legal after all.
I don't know how to answer their questions. I begin to form words and haltingly and gently I begin to explain that sometimes when a lady is going to have a baby she decides that she doesn't want to have the baby and so she goes to see a doctor and the doctor ... what? ... I falter ... what does the doctor do? The clinical term is that he "terminates the pregnancy". My girls will not understand that. I stumble around looking for the right way to say this, but there is no 'right' way to say this, so I stop trying to say it right and I just tell them.
"The doctor kills the baby."
We sit there. My girls gasp, their eyes get even bigger and they look absolutely horrified.
Children know things. They know when something isn't fair. They know when something is unjust. They are experts at making sure that everyone has the same number of candies and the same size cookies, with the same number of chocolate chips. They keenly feel injustice when the punishment does not match the infraction or a sibling receives a lesser punishment for the same infraction they committed.
And children know when something is horrifying. I look into their eyes and I want to weep. They have gasped and their eyes tell me that what I have said is unthinkable and incomprehensible and they are right. These wanted children of mine, who began the same way all lives have begun, these children who began with the racing heartbeats of a fetus developing its way to fullness, they have been allowed to live, while others, so many, many others have been "terminated".
They really don't understand. They want to know "why". They can't imagine this reality. Only a short time ago they were at the very beginning of life too. Now they are out of danger. If anything goes wrong they will be protected and treated and doctors will do all they can to preserve their life. But at the beginning, when their life was most fragile, the law of this land did not protect them.
I can't explain to them all the reasons why this has happened. They are too young to enter the debates and listen to all the words and more words trying to make the unthinkable sound reasonable. This is precisely what happens. Intelligent people make arguments and spin out word webs that begin to sound reasonable to the ears of their listeners. They draw them into their web of words until they are so hopelessly entangled that somehow they begin to think it makes some sense.
Politically correct statements are hammered out and pounded into us in such a way that it desensitizes us to their true meaning. We are numbed. We are lulled into political correctness. We must not offend anyone. We must not disturb any rights.
But it is all a lie.
Children know things that adults have talked their way out of.
This is what the children know.
It is horrifying and there is nothing right about it.