Life has been crazy the past month. It seems like I’m constantly rushing and going straight to the next place or thing with my friends, staying up till all hours of the night, not getting any sleep, and then waking up and doing it all over again.
Although I graduated from college in December, my graduation ceremonies were a couple weeks ago. I’ve always heard a lot of people say they didn’t want to go to theirs but I’m so glad that I did. It brought so much closure on this chapter of my life and was such an amazing experience. With how long it’s taken and doing it all on my own- while living on my own and working full time- it was nice to celebrate the accomplishment.
My parents are divorced. My brother just below me is married and lives in the bottom part of the state, and my youngest brother lives with my mom but works a lot. It’s very rare that my family is ALL together, and even if we are we’re usually not all sitting together because of my parents (even though they get along for the most part it’s just uncomfortable more than anything).
Middle brother’s wedding last year was one of the few times I remember us all being together.
Middle brother took the day off work and drove four hours to get here and everyone else got work off as well. I had to line up with the other flocks of graduates in the parking lot for processional, so middle brother and I walked around campus until it was time and my dad went to go find parking and get seats. My mom and youngest brother drove separate and youngest brother texted me where they were sitting, in section E.
I walked through the corridors surrounded by so many other students who worked so hard to graduate like myself. So many people in the arena cheering, and the organ music booming the graduation music. Once inside, I looked up towards section E and saw all four of my family members, together, scouring the crowd trying to find me in the sea of caps and gowns. I had assumed they were going to be in different places, but there they were, all in a row. The four people in this world that matter the most to me.
I could see them but they couldn’t see me for a little bit and looking up and seeing them all literally almost brought tears to my eyes. Once they saw me (after multiple text messages and me standing and waving like a fool) I got texts like this: “Haha you are so cute!! Seriously!! So sooooo proud!”, “Congrats!!!! I’m so grateful for you! You look good in blue :)”, “Yes I did cry again when you came in! This is so FUN. Love you!”, and youngest brother again telling me that both of my parents were crying (haha) which they continued to do afterwards when we all met up.
It truly was worth paying for a cap and gown and walking a million times over just for this memory of my family and being able to feel how much their love and support means to me.
Last Friday, I went to a different graduation.
About two years ago, (I’m 26 now, mind you) my mom dropped a bomb on us that she had previously never breathed a word about.
“I had a baby… that was adopted, who has recently contacted me.”
When she was 18, her mom had dropped her off at a college in another state, with little knowledge of the outside world. Her father had died when she was 8 years old and this had caused a lot of issues and confusion in her life. She met a guy and ultimately got pregnant. The relationship wasn’t a healthy one, so her mom came and picked her up, brought her home, and she never told the guy about the pregnancy. Her best friend’s (and my namesake’s) mom knew a couple that was looking to adopt so she trusted her word and had faith that his life would be better than what she could give him. She knew she (or the boy) would always be able to go through that connection to find each other if they wanted.
Once he made contact with her, they started corresponding via email and she felt like it was time to finally tell us. He was five years older than me, had grown up in our same town, and even went to my same high school. He had a good life, was a good person, and was married and had 3 kids now.
We had only met in person one time close to when we found out, but him and his wife added me on Facebook (yay Facebook!) and we’ve written on there. They are both lovely people and have an adorable little family (apparently I have nieces and a nephew ha).
On Friday, my mom and I went to his graduation with a bachelor in emergency management, where I met all of his family. His parents struggled with infertility and were never able to have children of their own, so along with him, his two siblings are adopted as well. My half brother also legally adopted his brother’s first daughter (kinda gets confusing) as he was not able to take care of her. His parents were so welcoming and open in a situation where they could’ve felt awkward. Instead they have cultivated an amazing family where everyone is family no matter what, and the kind of people that you just instantly feel loved by.
As we were driving in the car on the way to his family’s house after, my mom and I were talking about how nice they were and she started telling me a story that I almost tuned out because my mom does that a lot, but the point of this one was an incredible thought. She went on to say (summarized in my words):
“I heard a story one time about how there were these two men that were friends in heaven and were learning about what their lives would be when they got here. Both of them learned that they were going to be very successful, one would be a lawyer and one a businessman, and they both would be very wealthy and have nice lives. When the second friend heard he would have a successful life like his friend, he immediately decided to give up that fate and be a homeless man that his lawyer friend would see every day on the way to work. He did this so that his friend would see him, and be more willing to help other people and be more compassionate in giving to and helping other people out.”
I thought that that was the end of the story but she then related it to how when she heard that story, she thought of my half brother’s adoptive mom. My mom felt like maybe they were friends in heaven, and that this woman knew that my mom was going to have struggles (mostly related to her dad dying) and chose to give up her ideal, and struggle with infertility, in order to be the person to help my mom during that time, as well as the children she adopted and their birth parents. Once she put it in that perspective, the story made more sense.
There are people that come into our lives for a reason, and maybe for more reasons than we even know.
All of a sudden, I feel like I have more extended family and more people to love and be loved by, as I’m sure is how he and his family feel too.
My family, his family, people that are your family whether they’re blood or not. Isn’t that what life is all about?
There goes my life
There goes my future, my everything