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Last night when I accompanied my sister to take my niece to the hospital I realized that being a parent is so much more than just playing or being funny to make them laugh when they’re crying. Being a parent is a 24/7 thing, especially in the early months and even more when they are sick. I saw my sister carrying my niece (she didn’t want to go with me) for three hours until a doctor saw my niece and it was only because she got purple and stopped breathing. Saying that it was terrifying doesn’t do it justice, my heart literally stopped, everything happened so fast.

It was in the time that I had to stay outside that I met this young lady with her son and daughter. She was waiting to be admitted because her son was very ill and when she saw what happened to my niece she began to cry. Being the small hospital that it was, people just seemed to bond out of a mixture of fear, hope and nostalgia. She told me how she had a son who got like that while she was pregnant with the little one she was holding. He died in her arms, and then it was everyone comforting everyone.

It was a weird feeling but we all seemed to be there for one another. Everyone in that tiny waiting room suddenly started to swap stories as to why they were there or past experiences. You see so much in an emergency room, so much. You get to see just about every human emotion from the happiest to the most heart breaking. It was the parents that really got me thinking about what it really means to be a parent. It seems almost as if being a parent gives you some kind of superhuman strength, and some parents are truly ones to be admired.

In the end my niece was released in the middle of the night, many of the people we met were still there waiting. As soon as we walked out they rushed over like any family member would, and wished my niece and my sister the very best. With their blessings and heartfelt stories we went on our way home, and blessed we were with my niece’s recovery. Something that has always bewildered me is how much support and familiarity you can find in a stranger, this one is for all those wonderful people we met for they are a real testament of hope.

Smile, there may be someone who might just need to see one to believe again.

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Recently mom and I had a conversation about life, and we evaluated the things that have happened in our lives that led us to be where we are today. She told me the story of how I came to be in this world. She had told me bits here and there but never had we sat down and discussed it all from the very beginning. After having my sister my mom became pregnant with twins, by the time she found out she was pregnant one of the fetuses had died and the other one’s health was doing poorly. My mom opted for an abortion because it was putting their lives in danger, this upset her greatly and became depressed for a while after. She decided to get “fixed” to not have kids anymore and life was fine and dandy for a few years until I popped up in the picture.

Image by Chiceaux Lynch

When she started to have weird symptoms she thought she was sick, she even craved raw meat (ironically I dislike red meat) and when she went to the doctor, voila! I guess I’ve been stubborn since before I was born because I held on to dear life in an ectopic pregnancy. The doctors suggested an abortion because at that time (yeah I’m old) they figured I had no chance in making it to the second trimester and it would only endanger my mom. She told me how she remembered the twins, and seeing as how I had been stubborn enough to get past her “fix” to not have babies she refused the abortion. As she put it “You held on, I decided to do the same for you”. My mom says I was the worst pregnancy she ever had, she stayed in bed most of her pregnancy (I was a preemie) and when she wasn’t she was in the hospital.

Dad wasn’t there during pregnancy, nor was he there when I was born. When I was born she was relieved that we had both made it despite the odds. She told me that I should continue to use my stubbornness to defy the odds and that she was happy I stuck through college. You have no idea how much that meant to me, its not everyday that you get words like that from my mom. It got me thinking, do I have a purpose in life? She could’ve easily refused to stick with me during her pregnancy. I could’ve been another statistic, but I too held on. The odds were against me. I don’t know if I have a purpose but I do know that you are what you limit yourself to be.

Smile, don’t let the odds limit who you can be.

     School is about to start, the whole hype about kids going to school reminds me of when I was younger. I remember that every year I would look forward for that school shopping experience. I remember going down the isles with my brother and or my sister and they would ask me what materials I would be needing for school. This, this, that… The routine was always the same, and always pleasant.

I loved going school shopping. There was just something so nice about that “starting all over” feeling that I loved so much. Each year was the same, a new beginning, a new start. Seeing my nieces and nephews getting ready to go to school really brings me back to my days when I was their age. A lot has changed from what I’ve seen. Perhaps I’m getting to old, perhaps I’m still stuck in my old ways when things seemed more childish and naïve. Nowadays I see kids more worried about other things like makeup (yeah, I’ve seen first graders worried about makeup), and new gadgets and cellphones. I’m talking about kids here! Maybe I really am stuck in the olden days when a lunch box was so cool to have, when the biggest gadget you owned was a Gigapet or a calculator that you didn’t even need. I miss the old days when backpacks where all about Hello Kitty and Lisa Frank and not about Hanna Montana and all those other characters that are way too out there for me.

I remember how the most we complained about where uniforms, and how much we disliked wearing those collar shirts. Now kids that don’t have to take uniform complain about having brand jeans and designer clothes. I miss the simple days of school, the more childish days where kids were actually kids and enjoyed their childhood. Today all I see is kids so worried about their body and image, and having the new styles and being popular. Today it seems that being a second grader and not having a phone is a big deal breaker. What has happened? Why can’t we be a big more conscious about giving kids a break and let them be kids. Then again times have changed, but I don’t think I’ll ever change in liking the simpler things in life.

Smile, just because times change doesn’t mean you can’t reminisce about your good times. 

    There’s these tables in the middle of a school. Its a middle school, to me its the best middle school in the world. By those tables are these big and tall trees that give the nicest shade on hot days. Its on those tables that I used to sit down when I was a little kid to talk to my sweetie about books, and the nerdy things we liked.

Back in the day we were just friends, he was a very shy boy, he was new to the school for that year. He was mysterious in a very captivating way. His brown eyes, his black hair, that thoughtful look that he still does when he’s thinking about things. Looking back I was (still am) a very nerdy girl, quite the weirdo if you ask me. I started to talk to him because we found out we had some books in common, and well mostly I just liked to bug him. At one point I had a crush on him but only to find out that all the other girls had a crush on him too. Being his friend is all I wanted, all that really mattered to me, we remained friends for years after that.

He captivated me from day one, always made me think with his questions and observations about life. During lunch we would sit under those big and tall shade giving trees, on those blue tables predicting what was to happen in our favorite book series. Here we are nearly a decade later, with many miles apart and very close at heart.

Whenever I pass by that school and look at those tables, those trees I get this bittersweet feeling of nostalgia. Remembering how it all began all those years ago, seeing how much we’ve done in the in between time, and where we are now. I’m not going to lie, going back always gets me teary eyed (in a happy way) whenever I think of the good times I had under those trees. It never hit me that that shy and mysterious boy I met all those years ago would end up being the man I want to keep growing old with.

Smile, any little moment can be THE moment that changes your life forever. 

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