Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What are the odds?

Beautiful birthday girl!

This past weekend we celebrated my niece, Shannon's and nephew, Reggie's birthday. They are my sister's two youngest. Yes they were born on the same day. No they're not twins! They were actually born 8 years apart, on the same day! Shannon was born a couple of weeks earlier than her due date. Reggie was born a few days earlier than his due date. My sister was really hoping he would NOT be born on the same day as Shannon. She wanted them each to have their own special day, separately. Unfortunately the way the law of attraction seems to work, the more you focus on something, the more you attract it, whether it's something you want or something you don't want. So when she kept saying "I don't want him to be born on the same day! Don't let it be the same day as Shannon's birthday!" sure enough the Universe responded by having Reggie born right on Shannon's birthday. Of course Shannon is such a sweetheart she didn't mind sharing her day. But it does make things a little more hectic. 

There were already coincidences with birthdays in our family. My nephew Dan and nephew James were born a day apart. My niece Eve was born the day after my due date so my baby may share a birthday with her! When you consider that there are 365 days in a year, seriously what are the odds of having so many family members born on or around the same days? Of course Shannon and Reggie take the cake for the biggest coincidence of all. Speaking of cake,  Shannon made the cakes for her and Reggie and did a fabulous job! They tasted even better than they looked! 

Shannon made the cakes! Awesome!

Double the cake, double the gifts, double the chaos! In our family alone there are 6 nieces and nephews. My baby will be the lucky number 7th grandchild as my Mom pointed out. Add my brother-in-law's family to the mix and we're up to 10 cousins running amok. (Well technically my oldest nephew Dan is an adult so he doesn't run amok quite as much!) It's still surreal to me that my baby will get to meet the whole gang at her first Christmas this year. It will be the best Christmas ever with my precious miracle gift! I never thought in a million years that I'd have my own baby someday. 

The sweet birthday boy and girl!
                                                                      I love when the whole family is together but when the house is full of kids it is a bit of a three ring circus! Running, laughing, squealing, screaming, crying. One falls, another bangs his head, another two are fighting over balloons. A couple of them in the "terrible twos" stage, trying to assert their independence, insistent on getting their way, not fond of the word "no" can get very vocal. There were a couple of ear-splitting moments where my siblings and in-laws smiled at me and asked "See what you have to look forward to?" But I am looking forward to it. It's amazing how your perspective changes once you're in Mommy mode. The sound of children crying and screaming used to just be an irritant. Now it makes me smile. It feels like home.

Anyway, I'll only have one little one to look after, not 10 at once (except at visits and get-togethers and when you're used to living alone the chaos is actually kind of a fun place to be for a change.) It will be a while before I'll have to contend with the terrible twos. I know that a newborn will be a handful. Though you never know, I may get lucky like my niece-in-law did. She said everyone was telling her how difficult it would be but her little one is nine months old and has been a dream child. She sleeps 9 hours, right through the night without getting up! She only cries when she's hungry. She was good as gold all day. Didn't even fuss. Was quite curious and good-natured. I even managed to catch a smile on camera. Or my baby could wind up being a high maintenance screamer insomniac like I was (to hear my mother tell it.) You just never know. One thing is for certain -- my baby will have all my love and attention. Since it's going to be just her and I for the most part and while I am on maternity leave especially, I will have all my time and energy to devote to her. 

When it came time to open their presents, it was a bit overwhelming. Shannon and Reggie both tearing through gifts at once. Cousins trying to get into the presents. "No sweetie it's not your birthday. That's for Reggie." So much going on at once it was hard to keep track. It all went by so fast, a flurry of bags and boxes and flying tissue paper, toys and clothes. When there are that many kids it's almost impossible to control. They are like forces of nature! Like wild animals unleashed! 

It was fun but stressful, especially for my sister who was trying to watch both of her kids open their gifts, and take photos, and coordinate a meal, see to the guests etc. We are a big family. When we all get together, both sides of the family, there are more than 20 of us! It's nice to have a tight-knit family though. I hear of a lot of families that don't even get together for special events. It's always been a tradition in our household and always has been in my brother-in-law's family as well. We are a close loving bunch!

 I couldn't help but think how lucky Shannon and Reggie are to have so much love from their family and extended family. They really are blessed. 

When I'm home it will just be my baby girl and me, a family of two, but I will always be visiting my Mom and sister and on special occasions my little one will get to see all her cousins, aunts and uncles.  

It's always a challenge getting a group shot. Especially with a group this big. To fit everyone in, to get everyone looking. I'm glad to get these photos though. It reminds me what a big extended family we have. The self-timer lets me sneak into the shot at the last minute as well. I have 10 seconds to run in and take my place before the picture snaps. The next time we are all together, I will have a smaller belly (hopefully!) and be holding my precious little baby girl.  

Photos have always been so important to me. They are my way of holding on. Kids grow up so quickly. Things change. Life is so fleeting. But the photos are forever. They capture the moment and preserve it. I feel fortunate to have so many memories captured in images. Previous boyfriends used to tease me about it but even some of them wound up thanking me years later for taking those pictures of their family. Something they'd never had before. You hold on to what is most precious.

It feels like only yesterday that I found out I was pregnant. Now we're into June and I'm having my baby next month! I want to remember this time. I want to remember being pregnant, being nervous and excited about the baby, the biggest event of my life coming up. I am glad I got so many pictures last year of my adventures before the baby and I'm glad to have these pictures now. This is my life journey and I feel a need to record it.

And my little girl is going to be inundated with photos! I'll be the biggest mamarazzo (the Mom version of paparazzi!) ever! Everyone says how quickly the time goes by, how they don't stay little for long. I will want to capture every moment.

Let them eat cake!
 Everytime I see them I am so grateful for my family. They make me laugh. They make me feel safe. They are my home.

As a single Mom, I will have a lot to face on my own but I know that I won't be completely alone and that they will always be there for me, a phone call or a short drive away. I look forward to spending time with my baby, just her and I. I also can't wait to get together with everyone for special occasions. I want her to see how lucky she is to be the newest member of this amazing, crazy family.

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