Anyone who has read any amount of my blogging knows that my affinity for the sentimental “meaningful coincidences” in life knows no boundaries. Today, or at least what today represents, is perhaps one of my more favorite meaningful coincidences.
Imagine being an only child with a brother. That is my story. I have no siblings, and therefore I win all the spoils of an only child. (An only child of divorced parents, I might add… double Christmas, double birthdays…) And while many of my fellow siblingless companions in the world recall this lifestyle to be rather lonely, being an only child has never made me feel lonely. On the contrary! I had three wonderful parents, each of which devoted a vast majority of their attention and love in my direction. And most importantly, I had Nate.
Nate is my cousin, and he is around 2 years younger than I. For many years, Nate and I either lived with one another, or lived within a block of one another. We spent all of our time together when we were younger. (I used to have to keep the girls away. Especially when he wore his spikey hair and jean jacket combination. No 5 year olds could resist that!) Nate would humor me. He would let me be as bossy as ever. He would obdiently take on one roll after another in my rather imaganitive plays. [Like, cavity fighters, the game where you are a cavity fighter, and you needed to protect your teeth (my room) by cleaning the nasty sugar germs (my messy clothes and toys.)] And, Nathan totally got me. He understood just what I had imagined and played along. And for some reason, sad didn’t hurt so bad when Nate was there. Nathan easily became my best friend.
I loved having Nathan around because when he was there, regardless of what I was doing, I felt comfortable. I felt like I could make a really lame joke, and he would totally still humor me. I felt like I could be dorky and playful and he would have my back. And Nathan became a really interesting person himself. When he was around, everything would have more depth and more meaning. And so, I would find myself telling Nathan more of my secrets than I did most of my girlfriends. And he was a worthy secret keeper.
So, of course, when I found out I was carrying a surprise pregnancy, Nathan was the most natural person to call. Once I got the nerve up, he came over right away. He walked countless city blocks with me, letting me sort through my every fear and my every excitement. And Nathan was overwhelmingly supportive. There was never a moment he wasn’t convinced that he was going to love being an uncle.
The next day, when I had an early ultrasound to confirm the dates of my pregnancy, I found out that I would be due to deliver on Nathan’s 21st birthday. I felt a little guilty, thinking how it seemed rude to overshadow such a milestone in his life, but I quickly tossed that fear aside, reminding myself that only 1 in 40 babies are actually born on their intended due date. And once I got over feeling guilty about it, I began to take it as a small reassurance that somethings are just naturally meant to be. Surely Nathan, who was this baby’s biggest fan at the moment would love to share his birthday, in the very remote chance it played out that way…
But wouldn’t you know? Jake is rather punctual. Jake presented himself to the world in the early morning hours of his due date. And, though I was pretty much exhausted for the following day, I still have a fuzzy memory of my slightly intoxicated cousin Nathan, kind enough to stop up and meet my son while he was off having what was hopefully one of the more significant moments of his life.
Now I rarely see Nathan, though amazing things like texting and facebook make the distance from Michigan to Wisconsin feel lesser. Jacob took up a lot of the spot in my life where I needed Nathan most. I had someone around, always willing to play imaginative games and to humor every little joke. Jake became someone who wouldn’t think it was lame to grab flashlights and pretend to be rock stars. Jake became another one of my best friends.
One of my greatest honors in life was to stand as Nathan’s “best ma’am” in his wedding. My greatest honor in life was becoming a mother. Happy Birthday to two of the most important people I have ever known…
Happy Birthday Nathan and Jacob!