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At Front Porch Republic , James Matthew Wilson reflects on a sonogram image of his son:

This is my son. As you see him here, he has been alive for just about one-hundred-forty days and has, this and other ultrasound images suggest, my nose and not his mother’s. I have not seen him any more closely than you have, have not held him in my hands, and will not hear him cry for about another one-hundred-forty days. As you see him, he has just drawn his arm up across his left cheek, as if to shield himself from the ultrasound. My middle brother used to make much the same gesture whenever Dad pulled out the super-8 camera with the spotlight fixed on top.

I did not learn anything from this ultrasound that I needed to know. But now that I have seen him, I turn to my wife more often, reach my palm out for her belly, and try to feel him there, growing within her. We have a name for him, and now I begin to associate a face with that name, small though it is, and shy though he is. We begin now, also, to ask his older sister, as she looks at a picture book or tries to draw a circle, “Will you read to him? Will you teach your little brother to draw?”

Such are the only changes this little picture stirs in us, because, without it, we already knew what sort of creature we were dealing with, what sort of creature we were waiting to encounter face-to-face: a child, a son perhaps, certainly a person.

The difference between this little son of mine and me, since it evidently will not be found in the shape of the nose, lies elsewhere. It is legal rather than genetic. I enjoy the full protection of the law. He does not.

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