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The Pregnancy Prayer
If it were up to my mom, my friends and I would be “the food groups” for Halloween. Ali would be a hunk of meat with a bone sticking out of her head, my friend Jace would be a boy-sized baguette, Donnie would be a chunk of cheese, and I would be the potato.
“Aww…you guys should be the food groups!” squealed my mom, her face lighting up like a torch. “Everyone would laugh so hard!”
“Exactly,” my friends and I muttered under our breaths in unison.
“We would be the laughingstock of the century,” I said dryly.
“Well, you might not think it’s funny now, MaCall, but this is even ten times funnier than your air-freshener costume!” my mom chortled.
I turned to my friends.
“This is so embarrassing. I apologize that you even have to be in the same room with her,” I croaked.
My mom glared at me.
“Well, why don’t you guys just be witches and warlocks or whatever like EVERY OTHER KID then. I’m simply proposing a unique idea,” my mom harrumphed, marching out of the room with her latest edition of the Kid’s Kreepy Kostume Katalogue clutched to her chest.
This is the woman who in fifth grade told me how babies were made…that’s right, the Pregnancy Prayer. I quote here, “—and after they’re married, the husband takes his wife to the church, and they together recite the Pregnancy Prayer.”
“And the mommy gets a baby inside her just like that?” I asked.
“Just like that,” my mom smiled.
The next day, we had “The Talk” at school. I waltzed in looking smug. I already knew what we were going to learn that day.
Mrs. Keith was nervously biting her lip and tapping her pen on her clipboard as I slid into my seat.
“Okay girls and boys, quiet down. I’m pretty sure you all already know what we’re going to learn about today—”
I gave my friend Katie a wink. I was one of those fortunate kids who had already been enlightened by her parents.
“—so I’m just going to show you a PowerPoint presentation. Don’t worry—I’ll explain things along the way so you…” she grimaced, “…understand.”
Katie industriously whipped out a sheet of paper.
“I’m going to take notes,” she whispered.
“Not me,” I said with a wide grin, “I already know what we’re learning about today. Do you want to know?”
Katie looked at me funny.
“…I guess,” she said.
“It’s called…” I gave a pause for dramatic affect. “The Pregnancy Prayer.”
“What?” she asked.
“Oh, it’s a very sacred tradition. It goes way back. But don’t take it from me—the teacher will explain it right now…just you watch!” I paused. “I think it comes from the Aztecs or something.”
“Oooohhh,” said Katie, her lips forming the giant O shape of ultimate understanding.
Let’s just say I soon found out that wasn’t how babies were made. And let’s just say I might have shot my hand into the air with a very, very dumb question.
“MOM I’M NEVER SPEAKING TO YOU AGAIN!” I shrieked, slamming the door behind me. My eyebrows were furrowed into a deep V shape of ultimate 10-year-old consternation.
“Yes, honey?” my mom smiled innocently, a soapy dish in her rubber-gloved hand.
“Don’t you ‘yes honey’ me! I can’t believe you let me just embarrass myself in front of the ENTIRE CLASS. Now everyone thinks I’m a nitwit. And you brought this upon Katie, too. We both had to go through the complete shock of—”
“What are you talking about?”
I paused dramatically, then took a deep breath.
“THE PREGNANCY PRAYER!” I screeched. “I actually raised my hand in class and ASKED the teacher about it!”
My mom burst out laughing.
“Exactly! That’s exactly what I’m talking about!” I shrieked, pointing an accusing finger at her.
My mom was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down her cheeks.
“You think this is funny?”
“IT IS!” my mom chortled.
I picked up my bag with a ‘hrumph’ and banged out of the room. I wasn’t taking this kind of abuse anymore.
I have been an emotional wreck for years because of that incident. To this day, kids in my class still joke about it.
“That baby is so cute!” I squealed the other day as a mother pushed her baby’s stroller past my friend and me.
“You’re right. They must have said “The Pregnancy Prayer” extra well for that baby,” chuckled my friend Joanna, giving me a playful shove.
I just groaned.