I have a very sweet niece. My little E lights up my life. She is so smart, playful, and kind. At 2 years old, her nurturing and maternal nature is already so prevalent. Simply put, E is a joy.
But there's a twinge of sadness to her story. You see, my niece doesn't have a Father. Well, she has a Father in the sense that we all do - but he is not around. He does not know her. He's never held her hand, or looked at her pretty face. He doesn't know he helped create a truly amazing and special little person.
As a family, we don't really think about that too much. It just is what it is, and lots of children grow up in single-mother families. Even me! Despite a loving marriage, my Father died young, and our Mother had to raise us as a single parent. It's very common.
So last night when my Mom, E's grand mere, asked: "Doesnt it just make you so sad to think that E's Father isn't around?", I really thought out my answer before responding.
"Well... yes and no. I think it's really sad that E doesn't have a Father. It's sad for him too. He's really missing out on so much. He is missing out on his daughter's life! But you know what else? I think we aren't doing E any favors by feeling bad for her. Everyone has a story. And this is part of her story. I just hope, in the long run, this one fact of her life becomes a small part of much bigger, much happier, story."
Flash forward to today, I'm at work, reading the most reliable publication ever, The Daily Mail. I stumble across an article "I found my son on the subway: Couple discover abandoned baby in train station... and then adopt him" - and of course, I gave it a read.
A man, Danny Stewart, was commuting home one day, and found a day-old baby in the subway station. A kind-hearted social worker, he immediately scooped the baby up and called the authorities. Later, he found himself called to testify in Court to recount the events of finding the baby. In a bizzarre twist, the Judge asked "would you have any interest in adopting this baby?" and without hesitation, Danny replied "yes!"
It's a little comical that he didn't consult with his partner Peter Mercurio first, but the men eventually came around to the same page and adopted the baby within 36 hours. They started their new life as a family during Christmastime that year. They named their new son Kevin.
In 2011, gay marriage was made legal in New York and Danny and Peter decided to get married. They had the brilliant idea of having the same Judge who created their family so many years ago marry them. She was thrilled to perform the ceremony, and they all had a meaningful reunion. Kevin's story is now in the process of becoming a film, called Found.
What started as a tragedy resulted in a happy family. The awful fact that Kevin was found in a subway was the impetus for a new, full, and content life - with two loving parents.
And so, I just love this story and how it relates back to my little E. Yes, sweet girl, you had a bit of a rocky start. Yes, your Father is absent. But your life will be happy. You are loved by a big, crazy family. And just like Kevin, you will be just fine. And you will have one inspiring story to tell.
Things don't always go as planned. Things are often not ideal. There is sadness and pain in life. You can be 28, 65, 2, or 1day old when you experience the sting of life's slap in the face. What happens next, and where you go from there, is called LIFE.
So, "Chin up!" to you and to me, and to anyone else who needs it today.