Friday, December 10, 2010
December 10, 2010 ~ Day 1
The Gift of Surprise
Surprise seems to be one of the key parts of being human. Life surprises us all the time with things that we want, things that we really DON’T want, and things that we never knew we wanted but are glad we’ve found. Sometimes it may seem as though just as soon as you feel like you’ve gotten a few things figured out, life surprises you with something out of left field that changes the rules in the middle of the game.
My parents married in December 1974. A second marriage for mom, a third marriage for dad... this was the one they knew would last. They were happy to have found each other and begun a new chapter. Each brought two children into the mix (2 + 2 = 4) most of whom were well on their way to adulthood, so with an eye toward the future mom and dad made a lot of plans. They planned to buy a home, finish raising the kids and then travel the world together. My mom decided to finish her college education at last. My dad looked forward to a rewarding early retirement.
And then, as with all surprising surprises, guess who decided to come to town? The stork!!! Yes, that awesome bird decided to bestow upon my folks a premature, scrawny baby human so furry that my siblings affectionately called me “Monkey” until the lanugo finally fell off - although never in front of my mother, I’m guessing. So, SURPRISE! Instead of getting a degree, retiring early and traveling the world, my parents got to Start All Over with diaper changing, late night feedings, tantrums, the works. For the fifth time! Dad was fifty years old when I was born.
I believe part of the meaning of life is that there is a surprise waiting for each of us around every corner. You never know what will happen next, and while this is sort of infuriating at times it can also be pretty darn cool. Yesterday, my husband was surprised by needing an immediate root canal. Bad surprise. Today, my son told me that we get to bake an apple pie for his Christmas caroling party next week. Good surprise! When I was 21, I found out that I had a pre-cancer and needed surgery. Bad surprise. When I was 28, my husband and I found out that we were expecting our first child. Great surprise!
No matter how many times life has surprised you in the past... one thing is for certain. The surprises will keep on coming right up until the last moment. Actually, I’m pretty confident that even after we die, we’ll all probably be completely surprised by whatever happens next.
It’s also worth considering the possibility that perhaps YOU are the great surprise that will walk into someone else’s life unexpectedly and light it up. Just like I did, 35 years ago today. Thank you mom and dad for taking this little lemon and turning me into something drinkable. Life brought you a great big surprise and you rose to the occasion together without batting an eyelash.
Readers, here’s hoping that my birthday brings you luck and something unexpectedly wonderful.