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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.

 Five years ago my thoughts were so much different from today. No surprise there since a lot has changed but when I look at old pictures of myself I smile because if I could go back in time to tell myself something, well I wouldn’t. Most of my life I have been school oriented. When I started college my goal was to prove people wrong, yeah not the best goal to have. My motivations were all in the wrong place, and I had a lot of growth ahead of me. I’ve yet so much to learn, so much room for improvement and I already know to expect many changes ahead. Ah, life sure can turn one’s life around.

Graduation is six weeks away, so basically just around the corner. It hadn’t hit me until I went to get my cap and gown and I laid it down on my bed. Sleepless nights, many times crying over physics and calculus problems, many sweet eureka moments that literally made me skip my way to class. It was in college that I found my addiction to coffee, a drink I swore to dislike, just one of the many things I gave a try that I said I never would. After all that and more there I was standing before what I had worked so hard these last couple of years.

What’s next? A big question mark. Graduate school, the beginning of my own family, a far away adventure, a little of all? If you had asked me five years ago what my plans would be today I would’ve said without a doubt, Grad school. Now, I feel like my career has gone one level down on my priority list. For the first time I’m actually excited about wanting to start a family, quite the opposite thought that I had five years ago. I used to shiver at the thought of having kids of my own, my career was the only kid I ever wanted. Me have kids? You’re crazy!

Changes, changes all over the place. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, let along a few months but I can tell you that I’ve enjoyed the journey this far. I have a lot of growth ahead of me, more obstacles to overcome, and more changes coming up. Am I excited? I am!

Smile, take some time to look at your own journey in life. 

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.

I don’t believe that we are destined for something, that our lives have been planned out way before we were even created. I like to believe that we all have free will, but every now and then something happens that makes me question my beliefs or lack there of on fate. Is it possible that we were destined to be with someone? Took me nearly a decade to go on a date with my childhood friend. After all those years being friends I’m still learning so much about this incredible man. Born hundreds of miles apart, we found each other.

I still remember a few years back he asked me for a kiss, but I said no because in my rule book kissing a friend was a no-no. Looking back I can’t believe I didn’t appreciate the gesture of him asking me for a kiss, that was a very gentleman-like thing to do. While I still feel bad for turning him down those few years ago, I feel like it was meant to happen. Weird, yes. Back then my heart was elsewhere, my head was in a state of confusion and I was aching over ghosts of the past. I had to practically go through my own hell to learn to value and appreciate the important things in life again.

Sometimes I feel like those years in between prepared me for a lot of things. I don’t know if it was destiny that crossed our paths so many times at very important points in our lives. I still remember him asking me to hang out and for a kiss, but my stubbornness and rules got in the way despite of how I felt. It wasn’t until I realized that in life we must take risks and then it reminded me of that quote from ‘When Harry Met Sally’, “…because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” Destiny or not, I am a very lucky woman who loves and is loved by a truly wonderful man.


Smile, because life is filled with beautiful surprises. 

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