Kara and my son-in-law Joe have decided to welcome their first child the old-fashioned way.  We won’t know whether it’s a girl… or a boy …until this babe is born.

I rather like living in the mystery since all of life is mystery.  There is so very little that we actually control.  The who.  The what.  The where, when and how.  All that fills our days is mystery… until Father Time puts the day to bed.

Of course, we make plans for life.  Lot’s and lot’s of plans.  We make plans that we hope, wish and dream to fulfillment.  Sometimes we make plans we’d prefer to avoid.  That’s what my Aunt Jo was doing the week before she died.  Looking back, I think Aunt Jo had more than an inkling death was near.  But I’m not sure she knew she was as close as reality ultimately proved she was.  What a blessing it is to live in mystery, to not know the time of our own deaths.

Would you believe Aunt Jo lined up a preacher to preach her funeral service six days before her death?  Then there was the no small matter of  asking for help to write a tribute for her daughter-in-law Judy.  With distance, I see Aunt’s Jo’s desire as not only gracious but a very old-fashioned way of blessing, just like the Patriarchs did on the pages of the Old Testament before they put their own lives to bed, which they called “gathering to their ancestors.”

Last Sunday four generations of women and children gathered at my sister’s house to bless the new life Kara is carrying.  My Aunt Georgia and I suppose Jane represented my mother’s generation — those who could be great-grandmothers or great-grand aunts —  though Jane is really between this generation and my own.  Then there’s my generation — those who are grandmothers or great-aunts.  Then my children’s generation — those now having children, like Kara.  And then the children themselves.

I looked out my sister’s window to watch this new generation at play.  They were having so much fun.   Spending time together.   Going back and forth between Christi’s house and Jane’s.  They are at that wonderful age before shyness and self-consciousness sits in, when eyes connect to make instant best friends.   These young cousins were running the wide open spaces like my children and their cousins did  before them…  and like me and my cousins did before them — not too long after my grandparents purchased the land in the late forties.

Will this new child be a girl or a boy?  Oh, perhaps I have an inkling of which it will be.  But I’ll keep my own counsel, since  it won’t be long before Mystery reveals her hand.  All-too-soon, this unborn babe will be running hard to keep up with his or her older cousins.   They will come inside smelling like grass and sunshine.  And like little Kinsey did Sunday, Kara’s child will tear up at having to say good-bye to her  new playmates.  And he or she will be too tired for the bath.  But not too tired to hear a story and get thousands of kisses and drinks of water before being tucked into bed.  And when it’s time to turn out the light for bed, he or she will tell their mother they are not tired.

But here’s where the mystery ends — Mother Kara will put her child to bed anyway.