May 18, 1970
As the school calendar wound down, I was getting nervous about not having a firm plan for the fall. I hadn’t heard from the Danville Board of Ed after my interview and had no way of knowing if I’d be teaching or not.
Nate reminded me that patience was a virtue and suggested we talk about anything but that when we took our evening walk. Just before we left, we got a call from Mary and Bervin. She was breathless with excitement, and I wondered what might be happening. “Guess what!” she said. “Today I felt life!”
I didn’t know what she meant, but she continued. “The baby! I felt the baby move inside of me today!”
I couldn’t believe it! Something about her statement made this new little person more real than ever, and I just couldn’t wait to hold him or her in my arms – the first new baby in our small family of six adults. It snatched my thoughts away from teaching and gave Nate and I something special to talk about as we walked around the neighborhood that evening.
Inevitably the topic morphed from Mary and Bervin’s baby to the possibility of one for us some day. It was no secret that I loved children, but Nate hadn’t had any experience with kids at all. When I told him he would make a wonderful father, he responded with doubt.
“Well,” he said, “at least we don’t have to decide that anytime soon.”
He was right. Although I had wanted my own babies since I was a child myself (left), I also pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom. With Nate still in school and me supporting us for another year, that dream would have to wait — more virtuous patience.
As we walked along hand-in-hand I said, ”I just wish I knew if I would be able to have babies or not, if there was some way to tell ahead of time. Then I wouldn’t have to wonder.”
“My guess,” he said, “ is that we’ll have a houseful of kids and your dream will come true — just not yet.”
We fantasized about what our children might look like and what their names might be. Nate said, “I’ll be OK with any name, as long as it’s not named after me.”
“Because I’m named after my dad – nothing but confusion. He’s Willard Nelson Nyman, and I’m Willard Nathan Nyman. Everybody calls him Willard, and calls me Nathan. But when I was living at home, if someone called the house and asked for Willard, no one knew if it was for Dad or me. And when mail came for Willard N. Nyman… again, no one knew. Let’s avoid all of that.”
“That’s fine,” I said. “I know I’ll love our babies even if we name them A, B, C …. or X, Y, Z.”
And that night when we climbed into bed, I realized I hadn’t thought about my teaching predicament even once.
“Children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)