What Will It Be Like?




What will it be like, this little one coming so soon now?  I feel those shifts and strong kicks inside of me and I wonder. Will he be a boy, tall and handsome like his father before him?  Will she be a girl, pretty and sweet who will steal the boysí hearts?  Will it have the temper I try so hard to hide and the ready laugh that breaks through my Benís frown when he tries hard to be stern?  I see this dear child in my mind sometimes, so clearly I could almost cry for the joy of it, and yet I wonder every day what it will be like.  What color eyes, what color hair, a delicate face or a strong one?  Dear God, please just let this baby be healthy and wholeÖ


What will it be like, this new child of mine?  I look at my two boys and feel the pride coursing through me. I know with certainty that this new arrival will claim an equal share of my heart for its own.  Will I soon have a new son that I will teach to ride and to shoot and to care for the land alongside his brothers?  Or perhaps my first daughter, a little girl with her motherís beauty and inner fire to pet and to spoil, if only just a little.  How Iíve missed the sounds of a babyís cry, that look in the eyes as they stare up at me so trusting, not knowing that there is anyone else in the whole wide world but us.  It is so short a time now and yet it seems forever to wait. 


What will it be like, to be a big brother at last?  I will be a good brother to him and protect him from harm.  I will show him all the things that Adam showed to me.  We will fish and hunt and camp out together, catching frogs and snakes and other wonderful things.  I will give him a puppy and teach him to ride and defend him from bullies and hug him when he cries.   Papa says maybe Mama will give me a sister, but I know this baby will be a boy cause I asked God for a little brother.  Papa says the baby will be here this month and now every day I try to imagine what it will be like.


What will it be like to have a baby in our house?  The only one Iíve ever been around was Hoss and with Ma dead and Pa still grieving, Hoss and I had no one but each other.   I wonder if God hates me for something.  Is that why he keeps taking Pa away from me?  Mother died to bring me into the world, so Pa couldnít bring himself to love me then.  Inger made him happy again and Hoss made him happier still but when she died Pa was too sad and too busy to spend much time with me.  Then we settled here and built a home for just the three of us.  For awhile things were just about perfect.  Then Marie came and I hated her for taking Pa away again but I was wrong that time.  Marie loved us all and after a while I couldn't help but love her back.  But what will happen now?  Marie will soon have her own baby and all País attention will go to this new son or daughter.  But what if Iím wrong again?  What if I canít help loving this baby any more than I could its mother?  What if weíre all happier than weíve ever been before?  What will it be like?


The baby has come. The house is quiet now as the new arrivalís family stands over the cradle watching him sleep.  He is tiny and perfect and his eyes button tight as he yawns, stirs and makes a little sound.  Four hands reach to touch him, to settle him down once again. 

"His hair will be curly and his eyes will be green", whispers Marie, echoing the words of the midwife as she strokes the fine soft down covering his head.  He is whole and he is healthy.  Thank you, God for these things.

"Our son will be strong, feel that grip on my hand," breathes his Pa with delight as he strokes the fingers of one tiny fist, marveling anew at the possibilities in this new baby boy.  The first of my sons to be born on the Ponderosa.  A new life to join the family in our new future.

"Look how little he is," Hoss murmurs with awe.  "Ainít Joseph Francis an awful lot of name for someone no bigger than a minute, Pa?  I think Iíll call him Little Joe.  Do you think itíll be a long time before heís big enough to play with?"  I hope he grows up quick.  I got a lot of important things to show him.

Adam strokes his finger over one tiny foot.  He raises brimming eyes to the family around him and smiles, seeing their love shining back at him.  "The bad is all over now," he murmurs to himself, looking down at the baby once again.  Weíre going to be happy now forever and ever.  I wonder what it will be like?


The End

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Helen Adams

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