They were so surprised. I was not. The minute they told us they were expecting, I knew it was a boy.
Not wishing that it would be. Not guessing that it might be with pretty good odds of being right.
I knew it.
Let me backtrack.
When I was heavy with child and believe you me, I was heavy with child, I stood at the bedside of my grandmother with her daughters and my mother. She was in the last days of her life, and she was in a deep sleep so my aunts and my mother and I were talking about what I might be having. You know, back in the days when we almost never did know? I told them if it were a girl I was going to name her Hannah Grace; and if it was a boy, he'd be named after his father. That created some problems.
I didn't want my son, if that's what I had, to be called "Little Henry" and neither of us were crazy about the name Franklin, so we were casting about for nicknames instead. I was leaning toward Hank -- it's what my father-in-law's old friends called him and I thought it was a fine, strong name. The other possibility, of course, was Luke, and I allowed as how I wasn't crazy about the alliteration that would create. But then, from her deep sleep, my Grandmama opened her eyes and said, "It will be a boy, and you should call him Luke, after the Great Physician."
And then she went back to her deep sleep. She was a very religious woman, through and through, and for those who might not know, the Great Physician was the Gospel writer, Luke.
In a matter of days after that visit, Grandmama died, and less than a month later, my son was born. The one I wanted to call Hank...... who I decided to call Luke instead. You do not mess with what might have been a divine message, people.
So, fast forward all these years ahead.
After my mother died in October 2011, we noticed her needlework basket next to the chair in her sewing room, with this in it:
This blue afghan.
With the needles still in it.
A work in progress.
There was no baby due at the time she laid this down and took ill, not in our immediate family and not, that I can surmise, in the extended family. I asked her who it was for, pretty sure it was just something to keep her hands busy, and she just said, "You just never know."
But now I do.
It was for this great grandson, the one we will all meet in January. The first who will not know what it feels like to be held in her arms. The first who will not have its toes counted and kissed by her. But he will know what it is to have been loved before you were ever born, because he will know this story, and he will know that when his Grandmama heard tell of his coming, she never had a a doubt in her mind who he would be, because his Granny told her so.