Better Than a Rolling Jail

minivan

My kids say some pretty-dang-hilarious things, and I was reminded yesterday of one of the funniest quips yet.

We had spent the afternoon with fun friends on their farm (the same friends who took a mislaid stripey sweater on the adventure of its life), and it was time to leave. Of course, the kids didn’t want to go, and the effort of corralling them to the car felt a bit like trying to catch that one piece of egg shell that slipped into the cake mix. After several kind requests, I upped my Mom-game: “GET. INTO. THE. CAR.” I hissed as I strong-armed him into his buckles.

My son didn’t miss a beat: “This isn’t a car,” he yelled, “It’s a ROLLING JAIL!”

I laughed the whole drive home.

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I’ve been slowly making my way through the one year devotional based on Dallas Willard’s Hearing God. Yesterday’s entry was based on Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your heart to God.

As if often the case when reading in the morning, my eldest had slipped under my arm and was reading the Bible with me. I read the verse out loud and thought a moment, before saying to her: “I think we do this most regularly in the car, don’t you think? I think that’s the place we most often talk about what we’re learning, and it’s definitely the place where we do the most singing.” (Note to the reader: we’ve had Seeds Family Worship albums playing on repeat for pretty much five years continually now. And I’m still not sick of them.) My daughter agreed: yes, the minivan probably was the place where we heard and sang Scripture most regularly, and after more than five hundred repeats of those CD’s… the words are carved deep into our subconscious… which sounds like letting it “dwell in us richly”, don’t you think?

And all of a sudden my son’s hilarious words from the farm flew back into my memory, and I thought a new thought about our minivan and its unexpectedly prominent role in our spiritual formation:

It isn’t a car… it’s a Rolling Church.

And that thought kept me laughing the rest of the day.

Why I Said No To Prenatal Testing

Why I Said No To Prenatal Testing

I read a story today about a woman whose child’s photo was used in an offensive corporate campaign. Christie’s beautiful daughter has Down’s syndrome, and she had a gorgeous photo of her on her blog. A cheapo Turkish stock photo site lifted the picture illegally, from where it was then used by a large Spanish company selling prenatal testing kits. “Tranquility,” the poster promises to those who buy their wares, as if a little girl with Down’s syndrome were a cautionary tale. (Read the article, and let it rouse your angry mama bear, too.)

It took me back to the sterile room I sat in nearly four years ago, clutching at the gaping edges of the medical gown draped across my growing belly. My final pregnancy was different to the first two: I was officially a “geriatric pregnancy”, or AMA (of Advanced Maternal Age), as they politely noted in my file. In other words, I would be 35 by the time of delivery. Out came the kid gloves and the red carpet treatment: we elderly mamas are delicate, you know.

I listened carefully to what the doctor said, trying to stifle my inner snort as I wondered what kind of treatment Sarah, a first time mom at age 80, would have received. What was different, the doctor explained, was that because of the increased risk of complications  due to my advanced maternal age, I was eligible for a whole battery of prenatal tests. Insurance would pay for it all: elaborately subsidized peace of mind was mine for the taking.

“No, thank you,” I said.

The doctor held my gaze. “You do know the risks are significantly higher for a woman of your age?” she queried.

“Yes, I do,” I confirmed.

“And having the tests could give you early information so you could be fully prepared,” she followed up, pushing now.

“Yes,” I snapped, “but no matter what you tell me from those tests, I will keep this baby. And if there is something of concern, the 20 week ultrasound usually picks those markers up, don’t they? So I don’t see the point of undergoing extra tests, which could even be invasive and increase the risks for my baby, when I’m going to keep it anyway.”

She stepped back. I could see the words on her face: Oh, you’re one of THOSE.

Yes, I’m one of those. One of those who feels that prenatal testing gives parents a choice they shouldn’t have to make: of whether to kill the life inside them, or “live and let live.” One of those who has read about the heightened rates of false positives on those early tests – meaning they sometimes flag problems when in fact there are none. For some, this means invasive extra testing, for others this means an early choice to terminate the pregnancy: for everyone, this means significant stress and heartache.

I’m one of those who believes in modern medicine and vaccinates my kids on schedule. I take my physician’s advice on a great many things. When we have questions, we call the advice nurse. But when it comes to prenatal testing, I draw a line.

If I’m committed to keeping the baby, honestly, I just don’t see the point. And Genoma, with its horrible and offensive ad campaign, promising that its test can keep you “tranquil” so you don’t land up with a baby with Down’s syndrome, don’t deserve a dime of that lavish health-insurance-approved spending.

I know what the word above that darling girl’s face should have read: JOY. And the more special needs kids I meet, the more I know this is true. Heaven forbid we rob the world of beauties such as these.

 

Photo credit: Carol Lara (Flickr Creative Commons)/edited by Bronwyn Lea