Have you ever thought about how awesome it is to exist? I think I thought about it for the first time in college when my boyfriend at the time said we are all one-in-a-million, because each of us is the sperm that won the race to the egg. The chance of any individual existing is so small, from the rarity of our life-filled Earth in a universe where we have yet to find other life to the chances our ancestors made in deciding where to live, where to work, with whom to speak, and so on. I just read a wonderful essay on this topic on an inspiring and funny blog called 1000 Awesome Things. Number 2 on this author’s list is Remembering How Lucky We Are to Be Here Right Now.
This is my Great Grandmother Inez and my Grandma Mavine. If Inez and her husband Walter hadn’t decided to move from Nebraska to southern California in the first decade of the last century, my Grandma might not have been born. Even if she had, she probably wouldn’t have met my Mom’s father, which means my Mom, my uncles, my siblings, and I would not exist. And probably some other people would exist who do not.
Here’s a family portrait from 1969, with my parents in the center, surrounded by two of my mom’s brothers and their families. My parents met by chance one day when he passed where she happened to be. What if he went another way that day, or passed by just minutes earlier or later? What if she hadn’t been there at that moment? I’m not even in this photo because only my older sister was born yet (that’s her in between my parents).
Here I am around age 13 (c.1984) using my family’s first computer, an Apple IIe. What if my mom hadn’t been interested in my uncle’s help in stepping into the computer age? I’m grateful to them both.
In late 1993 we started using the internet service provider, Prodigy. My mom encouraged me to check it out but I was busy with college and whatever else, so I didn’t get around to it for a while. When I finally did, a lot of it was interesting, and the personal ads were not part that my mom mentioned to me but I found them. Still, even as I had fun responding to personal ads and meeting a few men, I didn’t expect to find my husband this way. Read that story on last summer’s blog post, Twenty Years Ago Today.
Robert and I married in 1996, already having agreed to wait several years before having kids (2 of them). What if we hadn’t? … Or birth control had failed? We decided at the beginning of 2000 that we were ready to start trying to conceive and I wanted it to happen during our summer trip to Paris, but no, it didn’t happen until the following month. Then there are all those parenting decisions. What if I hadn’t joined the yahoogroup Slightly Crunchy Attachment Parenting where I was exposed to the idea of homeschooling for the first time? Rhiannon wouldn’t have had as much time to spend singing and playing piano.
If I hadn’t let Rhiannon self-wean, would I have conceived my second baby sooner and not gotten to meet dramatic, sweet Caroline?
If we had been better at sticking to our early decision that two is the perfect number of kids and/or if the doctor’s office had had an earlier appointment for Robert, would we have had the joy of a son?
The last three photos are from late summer 2010, so exactly 5 years ago. They grow so much in 5 years! Anyway, these are just a very few examples of the many, many chances that affected my own personal history. Pondering this kind of thing, I think, is why I have always been a grateful sort of person. I’m just glad to be here, to experience this world and enjoy it.
Have a wonderful weekend!