“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell
I can remember the first day I held her. It was her Aunt’s wedding to some man I don’t even remember. The wedding was in a VFW of sorts and there were streamers as decorations. The kind you use for a 6 year old’s birthday party, not for a wedding. The centerpieces were some sort of pop-up plastic wedding bells and the food was served on cheap plastic plates that fell through with any type of weight.
It was my cousin’s wedding. A cousin I didn’t have a ton of association with but she asked me to grab my camera and take some pictures. I felt like we should be on some prank hillbilly show on CMT, the whole thing was such a disaster. I remember rolling my eyes at the keg in the middle of the room, the lack of soda and the balloons that bobbed around the doorway.
I walked from table to table, talking to family members I had slowly quit acknowledging over the years. That was easy to do when you didn’t grow up close to them. At some point she was plopped in my arms. She was in a little white dress and a mere 6 weeks old. Her mother, the bride’s sister, looked stoned and haggard. She needed a cigarette and didn’t care who held the infant, just as long as it wasn’t her.
I caught myself fully entranced by her. I had been around hundreds of babies in my life but somehow this one felt different. She slept soundly and I stroked her sleek black hair and dark skin. She felt infinitely light and looked like a doll. My gut instantly told me something whether I knew it or not.
The music may have been fast but I rocked slowly back and forth and looked for her mother to come back but she didn’t. Little did I know she was probably out the back door catching a high that she liked to keep while she was pregnant with the little one in my arms.
It was a peaceful first meeting. Nothing like the life that would lay before us. There are major flashes of that day stuck in my head, all meaningless, except for the one. The one where I just looked at that sleeping baby for so long not realizing that my life changed for forever. Nothing after that moment kept me in the norm. Nothing after that moment was in my control. God had a plan that was set into motion and it couldn’t be stopped.
I stood there rocking a baby Rebecca and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into or that I had already fallen in love with someone I didn’t know.
I would be lying if I would say I haven’t gone back to that moment in my head and wondered if I would change it. If I would hand her back over, walk away and gone back to my college life. The truth is we make a path for ourselves in this life to learn, to grow. In the hardest of times I believe that is what we are meant for. That tiny moment forever changed the course of my life and as much as I curse it sometimes, I wouldn’t change it. It was the first day of my life with Rebecca.