With Matthew and the other children eating cake and ice cream in the dining room, Hank went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Five-year-old David, watching his older brother carefully, followed.
“Hank?” David asked.
“Yes, my little guy?”
“Hank, will you still love me?”
Hank stared at his little brother. “Now where did that question come from?”
Hank sat at the kitchen table and motioned to David. “Here. Come here and sit on my lap.” The boy fairly leaped towards him.
“Do you know what your name means, David?”
The boy shook his head.
“It means ‘beloved,’” Hank said. “The one who is loved. Do you know where your name came from?”
“From Uncle David?”
“Well,” said Hank, “it’s the same name. But do you know who gave you your name?”
“No. I did.” He reached for his water and swallowed a sip.
“We’d been celebrating our Christmas with Grandma like we always do, and we’d just finished our lunch when Mom looked at Dad and said, ‘Michael, something’s happening.’ Well, it was crazy, we all jumped up. Dad ran to the telephone to call the doctor. We were all so excited that Grandma chased us outside to play in the snow. So the doctor said that when Mom felt these movements about five or six minutes apart, to come to the hospital.
“So we waited. And Mom did a lot of walking around and taking deep breaths. And then it was time. Well, Grandma wanted us all to stay at home, but there was no way that was going to happen. We were all going to the hospital. Mom and Dad were in one car, and we followed in two other cars. And off we went to the hospital in Edinburgh. The whole family. Me, Helen, Sophie, Mark, Tommy, Jason and Jane with Paul and Timothy, Jim and Laura and Grandma. All of us. ”
David sat on Hank’s lap, almost spellbound. He had heard Mom and Dad tell the story. But never Hank.
“So we get to the hospital, and Mom and Dad went to the labor room, and we sat in the waiting room. We waited for hours. We drove the nurses crazy because we kept asking what was going on. And about 9 o’clock that night, Dad comes in to say that we had a new brother. And about an hour later, we got to see you in the nursery. You were a big one, almost 10 pounds, like me, in fact. I was almost 10 pounds, too, when I was born. And you had all this black hair, and Dad said you looked just like I did when I was born.
“The next day, we all got to hold you. We took turns, and I let the rest go first. Then it was my turn. And that’s when Dad asked what we should name you. Everyone had an idea. Helen wanted to name you Sebastian.” David wrinkled his nose. “Sophie thought Nicholas would be nice. Tommy and Mark wanted to name you Doorknob.”
“Doorknob?” asked David indignantly.
“Mom put a stop to that real fast,” said Hank, laughing.
“So I said I thought we should call you David. I’d been studying about David and Goliath in my Bible class at school. And I said we should call you David, because you were beloved, and more than that, you were our whole family coming together. You were all of us. And so that’s how you got your name.”
“So if you think I could stop loving you, you are absolutely wrong. Just because I’ve adopted Matthew doesn’t mean we’ve run out of room in our hearts. David, God gives us the ability to love, and to love a lot of people. We may love then in different ways, but we love them all. You love Mom and Dad, right?”
“And you love me?”
David nodded again.
“And I love Matthew like he’s my son,” Hank said, “and I love you as my brother. But I have to confess, it’s a little more than that, too. I love you because God made you so special.” Hank smiled. “David, I love you with a fierceness, a fierce brotherly love. You and I look a lot alike, right?”
“Dad says we’re the twins 15 years apart.”
“That’s because we are. We are the first and the last of Dad’s natural born children, and because of that, we’re special to each other.”
“I love you, Hank.” And the boy scampered off to rejoin the party.
Over at Bonnie Gray’s blog today, the prompt word is “beloved.” To see other posts based on the word, please visit Faith Barista.
Photographs by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.