AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: January 7, 2013 | COMMENTS: 15 Comments
One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is how important it is to try and anticipate my emotional reaction to the outcome of an event. Sean and I spent nine months “practicing” how we were going to handle our emotions the moment that “L” was born. It was important to me that the first minutes of his life be filled with nothing but joyful celebration. Yes, we weren’t going to get to raise him. Yes, the whole situation was unfortunate. Yes, we had no guarantee what his life would be like once he left the delivery room, but instead of being overwhelmed by our sadness, I wanted him to enter the world enveloped in happiness and joy.
Given the circumstances of his birth, we had to practice.
Since then, I’ve made countless mental dry runs through equally dramatic moments. Some sad and tragic: The funeral of a friend; being interviewed about the baby we lost ten days after I gave birth to “L”; talking to a national television audience about the Newtown tragedy. Other moments have been victorious: getting the book deal phone call; finding out we were having twins; holding my newborn daughters for the very first time.
I practiced all these moments because I *may* have a tiny obsession with control. (If Sean is reading this he just fell on the floor laughing.) I also *may* have a tendency to get overly emotional. Knowing these two little tidbits about myself prompted me to practice. When I can anticipate something big on the horizon, I run through the potential outcomes in my head, deciding how I want to react so I don’t feel like a complete fool in that moment.
So, what happens when a spontaneous or unexpected big-deal-event drops a bomb in my lap?
Well, I get emotional. Which is what happened last night.
I didn’t accurately predict what this Dateline was going to mean for me.
First of all, let me say, obviously I knew the Dateline was going to air last night. What most don’t know, however, is that we are never allowed an advanced viewing, so the content is coming to us at the same time it’s coming to the rest of the world. Add that to the surreal experience of watching your greatest challenge play out on television with a new and very happy ending, and from me. you are going to evoke emotion. All kinds of sappy, teary, blubbering emotion.
That didn’t happen the first time around.
I guess that’s because the first time the Dateline aired, back in February 2011, our journey hadn’t come “full circle”. Even though, at the time, Jennifer was early on in her pregnancy with the twins which was, of course, a miracle, Sean and I were still so far from the peaceful, happy place we exist today. Time has definitely given way to a better place for our family. It was that happiness that overwhelmed me.
It’t ironic because shortly after delivering “L”, I was always asked if I spent time wondering “why me”. I never did. But last night, as our happy ending played out for the whole world to see, and was then followed by a pile-on of very loving and supportive messages from countless strangers, the “why me” question did enter the picture. What makes us worthy of experiencing such peace? Why can’t their be a happy ending for everyone? How did we get so lucky?
The truth is , I get overwhelmed because I don’t understand how this crazy, unpredictable and sometimes screwed up world we live in works. I don’t know why some people get happy endings and others never fully recover from a challenge. I’m always awestruck by people who have experienced true tragedy in their lives (I’m talking bone chilling tragedies, not pregnant with the wrong baby challenges), that are able, in time, to move forward with a sense of peace and happiness. The only thing I can figure is that time, perspective, perseverance, prayer, loving family, patient friends, and gratitude are all important variables in successfully muddling through life’s unwelcome curveballs. And, by the grace of God, we’ve tapped into all those things to come full circle.
So, I celebrated last night with an emotional and uncontrolled but joyous response. All of it, because I recognize just how very blessed we truly are!