10 Pages

Jesus Is My Father

WithA. Lizbeth Babcock

I first learned the word “illegitimate” when I was seven years old. It was perfect timing since my first confession was just around the corner. I always knew that there was something “wrong” with my father’s absence. I knew because of the barrage of questions from classmates and teachers and other people’s parents about where and who he was. With that first confession fast approaching, and me-the ripe old age of seven-not feeling like I had a whole heck of a lot of sins to choose from, I thought being illegitimate sounded like a good one to lay before Father Walter, my parish priest. Turns out it was, because I had to say four Hail Marys and an Our Father as penance. I imagined each act of contrition washing over me like a storm-tossed wave from the nearby lake, washing over the dirt of me and making me clean.