Sunday, December 19, 2010

Little Expectations

Tonight was the celebration for my five year old nephew's birthday. He doesn't really turn five until Wednesday, but with everyone's work schedules and Christmas on Saturday, my sister thought it would be best to have his party the weekend before. I haven't been around "R" as much as I would like, but I remember the night he was born. That was the year I was still in a "vacation relief" straight salaried position with my company. I had driven back into town for a few days, but had to leave again the next morning.

I remember that winter was unusually warm for us-still raining well into January instead of snowing. My sister was still married to her ex-husband, who had illegally attempted to start a new life in the States after leaving a life of crime in Mexico. Yeah, I know-for those of you who have been reading about my life from the get go it really does have the makings of the next daytime drama doesn't it? Perhaps that's why I've always thought they were a tad more realistic than most people. But anyhow, my nephew was a little bit of a stinker. Like his aunt he didn't exactly want to make an easy entrance into this world and my sister ended up having to go in for an emergency c-section.

My mom and I stayed in my sister's hospital room while she was in surgery, nervously hoping that everything would turn out ok. I tried to get a few hours of sleep while we waited, but with my mother's constant panicky conversations with the nurses and family friends over the telephone, I didn't have much luck. In the end everything turned out ok, give or take a minor complication or two that healed on its own with a little nudge of modern day medicine. "R" looked exactly like my sister did when she was born, with Hispanic coloring, so there was no doubt he was ours.

The hurdles, challenges, and domestic turmoil that my sister had been going through and eventually conquered could be a tale in their own might. It's a tale I think that only she could tell authentically, so I'll do her the justice of fast forwarding through that part of our lives. Some say that before children are born, they choose the individuals they're going to be born to. The higher self chooses its current incarnation's lessons, if you will. If that's true, then "R" made the right choice.

Far be it from me to know exactly what his life lessons are, but when a new child is born there are often a set of expectations about who they already are, who they're going to become, and whom they should be like. "R" is a quiet soul who is very picky about what he eats, who likes to give his mom and "Grandma" hugs, who can often be seen actively observing his environment, who doesn't like to share his toys, loves Sponge Bob, and knows how to pose and smile perfectly for the camera. He has an infectious laugh that is more like a series of giggles and will softly tell you what he wants to if you just sit back and let him.

Like his aunt he will never know his biological father beyond a few stray photographs, a few faded memories, and a word or two of caution mixed with small pieces of good that couldn't quite overcome the darkness. Like most of his family he can somehow sense what you can't always see. He knew who his grandfather was from a randomly placed photograph in my mom's house, even though my father passed two years before "R's" birth. I've often told my mom that dad still comes to "visit"-now I like to think that she has a little more proof.

I know it's still a little early and "R's" got a lot of changes he's going to go through. But when I'm around "R" he has a way of reminding me of the little girl I used to be. He even has the "Irish temper" at times and the perfect way of pouting in "rescue me" silence when he doesn't get his way. Yes, it's a little early, but I think we might have another hsp on our hands. No matter who "R" grows up to become, I'm glad he's a part of the family.

That's the funny thing about expectations. We always have this picture in our minds of the way we think something should be or how we think something should turn out. The thing is life surprises us a lot of the time. It unfolds in this sort of mystery of luck and beneficial growth disguised as temporary heartache. What we've conjured up for ourselves doesn't have to manifest to the "t" in order for us to be happy.

The only thing we can do is make our choices, sit back, feel lucky for what the experience gave us, and let the universe do the rest.

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