On November 7, 2005, I got up early and created a blog post. The picture that accompanied that post was a big question mark, and the title was "Who will it be?" Our daughter Rachel was in the hospital that day preparing for a repeat C-section to deliver our second grandchild. The new baby already had an older sister in the family, and we knew Caroline well, so we thought there would probably be similarities in whatever sibling joined the family. Only....that morning, we didn't know the gender or anything about what the new baby would look like. Rachel and her husband had chosen to be surprised, so, of course, we all were! We didn't know this information beforehand, but we did know the date and approximate time, since repeat C-sections are scheduled. Some things we knew; some things were a total surprise!
Now we're in the same ocean in a different boat. In this boat are our son and daughter-in-law, expecting their first child. However, this time, we know the gender - a boy - who will be named Joshua. We can even see in this ultrasound a pretty good preview of what he will look like! But....we don't know the date or time of labor or delivery, and we certainly don't have a sibling to wonder about similarities. Some things we know; some things will be a total surprise!
I have always said that life is never boring for me. Most people assume that is because I have so many hobbies - quilting, sewing, cross-stitching, singing, piano, harp, making greeting cards, photography, etc. Even my medical transcription career is usually challenging and exciting. But there is another reason I'm never bored - life itself. There are always surprises, one can never assume, and the very scenario you create for yourself frequently changes before your eyes - ultimately full of mystery and amazement. What wants to get up every morning and know exactly what the day will bring? A major hotel chain used to tout the fact that they had "no surprises." In other words, you could be assured that every time you stayed in that hotel, every room would be exactly the same, no matter where in the world you were. I guess to some, that was comfortable familiarity, but to me, that was not a selling point in their favor! Around the same time, fast food chains were making sure that one of their burgers in Arkansas tasted exactly the same as one of their burgers in Alaska. Again, familiarity, no surprises, but something in their favor? Not for me, thanks. I remember when my sister visited Maine a few years ago. We were planning to eat breakfast out, and there was a Denny's nearby, inexpensive and convenient, same everywhere. But she was adamant: "I didn't come all the way to Maine to eat at Denny's!" How true - so we ended up with delicious blueberry pancakes with real Maine maple syrup at a locally owned diner.
Of course, with surprises, there are always pleasant ones and unwelcome ones. As the old song says about love and marriage..."you can't have one without the other." In my experience, though, I firmly believe that I have had many, many, many more happy surprises and blessings than the other way around. I have fortunately had the wherewithal to deal with the setbacks as well as the ability to appreciate and enjoy life's unexpected enchanting moments.
At Caroline's recent 7th birthday party, her other grandmother was telling me a cute true story about surprises. A mother asked her little girl what she wanted to be when she grew up. The girl thought a minute, then said, "A doctor..." With this answer, the mother beamed. She thought how smart her kid was, how proud she would be of her chosen profession. Then in the next breath, the little girl, still deep in thought and unfinished in her reply, said, "....or a pumpkin."
Just when you think it's over, there's always something else to hear - or create, or manage, or learn, or reconsider, or work on, or be astonished by... Hey, that sounds familiar! That sounds like life! And in two months or so, a little baby named Joshua will be entering this crazy world and discovering what all the fuss is about. I can hardly wait!