Unexpected Gifts

People will forget: what you say, what you do, but never how you made them feel- Mother Teresa

Several years ago when our youngest graduated from high school, we combined efforts with families of a niece, a nephew and another shirt tail relative to host a very large outdoor party for the four grads. Our boy Nate had attended a different school than the others so there were quite a few people we didn’t know. Early in the afternoon under the food tent, a guy, I presumed to be a classmate’s parent caught my eye, engaged my attention and waved. I waved back and smiled.

Apparently, my cluelessness had shown because he approached me later. He introduced himself, and said, ” You probably don’t remember. You took care of my wife and me when we miscarried a baby before the birth of our daughter (the graduate’s classmate). “I do remember, yes! “I just wanted to tell you thank you. You really helped us.” I replied, ’Thank you for reminding me. This is a gift.” I think the tears spilling over my lids said the same thing from my heart to his.

Later in the evening, I was chatted with parents of my nephew’s best buddy, Kurt. Kurt was a regular at family gatherings and guest on a few of our caravan spring breaks to Florida. His folks and I were making the connections of who belonged to whom. The husband said to me, “You probably don’t remember, but you were our nurse when our daughter (name) was born two years before Kurt.” Really? I exclaimed. “Yeah you were really good to us.” We jabbered on about where their eldest was going to school.

His wife nodded agreement, but like most laboring women- probably thinking- HEY, I was the one WORKING!

Don’t you find that just a bit amazing? Two families, no, three were impacted. My husband and I experienced a failed IVF that same year as the birth and miscarriage. Each of three families went on to enjoy healthy children in a year of two following and were celebrating together on that day. Essentially 20 years had passed. Neither couple’s birth nor death was ones that had haunted me. They were emblematic of my daily nursing life. (Whoa …Circle of Life theme followed by Hakuna Matada music background to major moments of my grand life playing in my head. Just needed lighten the moment and to remind myself how ridiculous I can be as well as avoiding becoming too very tender.)

What treasures I was given that day. What validation. Honestly though, I went knees that night. “Thank you for the grace to serve. Thank you for allowing me to witness profound joy and sorrow and to ability to give comfort and strength. “ Sharing this story reminds me of the resonance throughout my being, my truth. In obstetrical nursing I was doing what I was made to do.

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