The Question


“Mommy, how did Catherine get born early?”

Sarah’s little voice pierced the darkness and drifted toward my mind as we drove home in the dark of night. It’s the one I’d wondered about. The one I didn’t know how I’d answer. Most parents may wonder about the “Where did I come from?” question. I’m ready for that one and the whole sex talk to go with it. This one was different. How could I answer this particular question when I didn’t even really know the answer myself?

“Well… She just came early,” I paused. “God just had her come that way.”

It was the best I could do, and I didn’t feel like I did a very good job with it. I drove in silence for a moment, wondering what else I could have said – or could still say. How could I explain the complexities of pre-term labor to a four-year-old? How could I explain spiking a fever and running and infection? How could  I explain placenta abruption and my life and Catherine’s life being in jeopardy? The silence and darkness grew as I began to question whether God actually did do that or allowed it to happen or whether it was just random having nothing to do with God at all.

In a barely audible whisper, I heard her tiny voice from the backseat, and I wasn’t sure I could make out the words.

“What did you say?” I asked her.  I thought I had heard correctly, but I wanted to be sure.

“Mom!” She yelled in exasperation just like I imagine she will when she’s sixteen. “I’m talking to God!”

“OK.” And then I could hear her for sure.

“God, is that true?” she barely uttered aloud.

My faith that has been hiding under a rock poked its little head out to remind me that yes, he was still there.

And I realized I hoped God answered her,  “Yes.”


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