Last night I read to our unborn child.
This is nothing new. For months, I would randomly grab a book from the small collection we’ve amassed since we found out we’re expecting and read directly to Meg’s stomach.
On this occasion, though, it wasn’t “Puss in Boots” or “Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?” Instead, I picked up the book I was sitting there reading anyway and just began reading aloud to Meg’s stomach. That book happened to be a collection of old All-Star Comics from the 1940s featuring the Justice Society of America. Issue #14 to be exact.
For those of you who may be uninitiated into the geeky world of superheroes, you may have vaguely heard the term “Justice League” bandied about in pop culture. However, The Justice Society, or JSA as they were often referred to, were roughly 15-20 years prior to the League. Amid America’s impending entrance into World War II, several second-tier superheroes of the time came together in the world’s first super team, The Justice Society of America.
On this occasion, the team’s mission was simple, yet oh-so-complicated: to get food to occupied European nations and overthrow the occupying Nazis.
Okay, okay, so a little bit harder than Dr. Seuss, but I was reading it anyway and I figured doing so aloud may be just as fun, doing my best to provide distinctly different voices for Hawkman, Starman, and the like.
Although, admittedly, both my German Nazi voice and Polish soldier voice need work. I can’t imagine what it will be like when I get to the chapters in Norway and Holland.
The odd part? Odd, yet exciting?
The baby really seemed to love it. Meg couldn’t believe how much the baby was moving around, and the more it moved, visible through her stomach this far along (36 or 37 weeks!), the more excited I got to keep reading chapters to this wondrous little soul I’ve yet to meet.
We stopped a few chapters in (I promised to read more in the nights ahead), but it led to a wonderful discussion (obviously one-sided, as her belly doesn’t verbalize too much) about fictional heroes written to inspire, and the real-life heroes (like the baby’s great grandfather and great grandmother, our next door neighbor, George, and our other neighbor, Geno) who put it all on the line during that very real war so that they, we, and our unborn child, could come into a free world.
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with that era in history, and it was comics, just like these old adventures of the Justice Society, that got me interested in what was going on in the real world at the time of WWII.
It was truly a remarkable moment to see and feel my child, still in the womb, getting excited as I read and acted out this 1942 adventure for them. What was even more exciting was knowing how much they have to learn about their past, their family history, and the history of the world around them. They have a lifetime of learning ahead, and I’m lucky enough to be there with them from the very start of that journey.
And hopefully, we’ll have many other Justice Society Adventures to relive together. 🙂