Unexpected Characters

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I have a very vivid memory from my junior year in college. I had just finished a four month internship in Puebla, Mexico. I was living in a small village a couple hours south of Mexico City and ten minutes from the base of an active volcano. The population of the village was mostly indigenous and very, very short. I was like a giant among them.

Oft times as I walked to one of my appointments a little boy named Predo, who lived along my path, would yell, "Mira! Ya viene La Grandota!" (Look! Here comes the Giant Woman!) I know... it was very flattering to hear everyday. Little Prdo would then proceed to run up behind me, grab both straps of my backpack, plant his heels in the dirt, lean back and 'surf' behind me while all the other little kids laughed hysterically. I, of course, played along everyday, happy to be of service as the one woman, town freakshow.

None of the houses (including the one I lived in) had a phone, so I would trek to the village plaza (giving Predo the requisite backpack ride) a couple times a week to call my parents and let them know how I was doing.

The particular phone call I remember so well happened to be the night before I was coming home. I was reminding my dad what time my plane would be landing in Phoenix and he said, "Your mom isn't going to be able to come with me. She's sick." Now I knew my mother had been worried sick about me the entire time I had been gone, so I was a bit surprised by this statement. "What kind of sick?" I asked, suddenly afraid that I was about to hear something devastating over the phone. "Pregnant sick" came the reply.

After a few seconds of stunned silence, I began to cry, mostly from happiness, but there was a bit of added gusto in my weeping from pent up exhaustion. That night I was, as usual, the town spectacle, adding to my title and becoming La Grandota Llorona (The Weeping Giant Woman).

My little brother was born about six months later, the tail end of six children, twenty-one years my junior. He has become the unexpected character in my family's life. Not only because of the age difference, but because of his personality. He is like a little whirlwind of life in my parents household, keeping them from growing old to fast and keeping all his older siblings in stitches from his constant silly antics. I can't imagine our family's life without him.

I've decided that the best things in life are mostly unexpected, and don't usually come at convenient times. As I look back over the past several years I can see so many things that have brought me to where I am today. Sometimes I cried when they happened. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed or afraid, but in the end they enriched my life beyond my comprehension. I think of my desire not to get married in college (I did). I think of the day my husband decided to close his business and go back to school, or the day we decided to pursue adoption, or the day I felt so discouraged that I had to sit down and write until I felt better (I haven't stopped writing since, but I do feel better). All these moments in my life were unexpected, full of overwhelming emotion but also full of hope and possibilities.

So now as I face the thought of moving to a new place, across the country, away from everyone and everything I know, I think about the events and characters that are about to come into my life. I would be lying if I said that I don't feel a bit of trepidation, but then all I have to do is look at my son, my husband, my little brother and remember that the three best things in my life came along at times or in ways that were completely unexpected.


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19 comments:

  1. What a beautiful essay! I have no doubt that you will make the best of what life brings you.

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  2. Thanks, Linda. I'm sure going to try!

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  3. Yep, you made me cry! Thanks a lot!

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  4. Nicki- That's not hard to do. But you're welcome.

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  5. Wow! This was beautiful! Hang in there, girl! I've been exactly where you're at right now... Moving ALWAYS brings adventures... and adventures are a good thing! Jenni

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  6. Lovely:) We have a caboose in my family too, she's only 15 years younger than me though. I, too, couldn't picture our family without her.

    The unexpected is always scary, but makes us grow in the best ways, I think. Thank goodness for the internet, right? We're all at the click of a button:)

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  7. Jenni- I'm sure you're right. And it is comforting to hear from someone who knows. I'm actually getting very excited.

    Natalie- I really am so glad to have met you all over the past several months. It's nice to know that I'll always have my blog buddies as long as the internet continues to function.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this. It is so hard to accept change and be completely happy and okay with it. It sounds like you are on that road. The Internet connects us all, isn't that wonderful?

    My mother in law had her last child at the age of 43. My husband had a similar experience to yours. He now has an 8 year old sister, and he's 30. :)

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  9. What a cute little brother you have. He looks a lot like you. I love the Mexico story too. You need to submit that one to a magazine.

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  10. Michelle- It sounds like your husband's experience is almost identical. I'm 31 and my brother is 10. He tells us that all his brothers and sisters have lots of wrinkles. LOL!

    Tara- Thanks!

    Tricia- He really does look like me. Everywhere we go people think he's my son.

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  11. Yeah, yeah, you're beautiful, you can speak fluent Spanish, and you have an amazing family (and the most awesome best friend) and now you expect us to feel sorry for you that you have to move? Well, it's not going to happen. Oh, wait, was that the point of this story? Or was it that you are looking forward to moving? You're looking forward to moving????? You're dead to me!

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  12. Kasie- You know how to make me feel really good and totally crush me. But I know you can't stay upset because Nicki's coming in 4 days and you have to be on my good side to see her. ;)

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  13. I love being the peacemaker without even trying! Yes, Kasie, please come over!!! I will beg if I have too!!

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  14. I thought your story would conclude that your brother's middle name was Pedro!

    Still: a very nice essay.

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  15. Paul- Ha! That would have been a good ending, but alas my brother was named Hyrum after my great, great, great, great grandfather. :)

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  16. I love the story Candi! One of my favorite things about you is that you can see the good and the bad and still choose to be optimistic. Thanks for being so cool and sharing your inspiring story.

    By the way, your brother looks like a slightly older version of my 4 year old. It's shocking. Maybe we're secretly related! :o

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  17. I didn't comment. I just realized. But I did read this a few days ago, and I loved it, so I'll tell you now. Beautiful essay. And you're beautiful, too! What a great story. The Giant Weeping Woman part...very funny.

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  18. Jenn- I hope we are that would be cool!! Your four-year-old must be adorable!

    Jessie-Thanks and Thanks! I got called many things while living there. People in Mexico are fond of picking physical characteristics and turning them into nicknames.

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