Lost? Here You Go. You Can Thank Me Later.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Queen and Her Jester

Stay classy, San Diego!
Miriam's older brother, Alexander Soren Tavares, was born in 1996.

He was due to arrive in August but decided he was bored and arrived in June - nearly 11 weeks early. He also decided Dad didn't need to be involved, since Past Erik was racing to the hospital during said birth.

The nerve. 

Adding insult to injury, he was also supposed to be a girl (Alora). Upon his unexpected arrival, announced proudly that the stem was indeed on the apple.

Goodbye, Alora. Hello, Alexander.

Note: Not a girl.
Anyone who has had a premature child knows the slow dance between hope and despair. It's also a great way to gain a lot of weight.

What does "skin with dusky complexion" mean?

Will my child have long-term issues?

Why aren't there more snacks in the Parent Lounge?

Will my child survive?

Yep. He did. 

He had a dark side, though, prone to rampant destruction:

We were so sure we were going to have a girl, so why the surprise? Alex explains he shoved past his sister in line on their way to Earth. He figures, tongue firmly in cheek, he wanted to give us a test run to prepare for Miriam's arrival. 

As he described it, with a few details thrown in for dramatic effect:



MIRIAM and ALEX wait in line to be born. Miriam is due to leave in just over two months. They get an update that Alex is slated for the Tavares Family and, realizing they will be siblings, clap a high-five.


Miriam reads the fine print at the diving board. She discovers she has a 89% chance of cerebral palsy.


Alex is reading over her shoulder.


Cerebral palsy, huh?

Wow. Tough break.


I know.
Mom and Dad are going to go nuts.
The good part is that they'll
probably treat me like a diva.

(she smiles)

I also won't have to waste
precious time chewing food.

 (thinks a moment)


(points toward the far right)

What's that?

Miriam looks, distracted. Alex shoves her aside, sprints down the runway, and dives off the diving board toward Earth.

(voice fading as he falls)

"See you in a few yeeeeeaaarrrssss!"


(cupping hand to yell)

Hey, buddy! You're blankety-blanking
eleven weeks early!

(looks at his chart)

And there's a stem on that apple!


Doctors work furiously as they complete an emergency C-Section. INTENSE MUSIC, possibly something by Hans Zimmer.


MOM is, naturally, recovering. Her auburn hair cascades in curly waves upon the silken pillow; she is awake and alert and beautiful, an eye in the storm.

DAD rushes in. He is ruggedly handsome, tall, slim, with a happy-go-lucky manner like George Clooney. As the baby was born while he was racing to the hospital, he enters out of breath. The nurses in the room gasp audibly, transfixed by his Clooney-like features. 




The stem is on the apple.
I repeat: the stem is on the apple.

CUE SFX - Long sad trumpet (wa-whaaaaa) and CANNED LAUGHTER. Scene FREEZES as they, the doctor and the nurses, are laughing. CHEEZY 80s STYLE MUSIC plays over the racing credits.


Better early than never.
I have no evidence to deny that this happened.

Our son gave us a scare, and his own challenges did prepare us for the strum und drang of Miriam's tragic birth and subsequent disability  Yet he has done more than prepare us - he is a helper and friend and protector of his sister. 

Here's proof.

We have this.

And this.

Don't forget this.

Or this one.

almost forgot this. 

(But I didn't.)

I love this.

I imagine Alex has suffered in his own way since Miriam arrived. He is also burdened with people constantly staring - or idiots asking questions like: "So, is your sister retarded?"

(If you're curious as to my reaction to THAT little ditty, please peruse my post here.)

As Alex grew up, we found ourselves becoming very controlling. At first, his obedience and complicity seemed like a godsend.

Wow, what a great kid.

He's unnatural, a golden child.

He does everything we tell him. Kids are easy!

We don't have to worry about him as much.

Or did we?

You have a life? Well neither so I, so step to it!
Children need guidance and discipline, and Alex was a very, very, very active child. Yet I remember the day when I realized my control was influenced by something greater - he had (occasionally) become the target of my fear. 

Things are out of control.

Alex was 11 weeks early.

That was scary, and now this is worse.

He is our one shot for grandkids.

When does the other shoe drop?


There it went.

I hope our relationship is not overly tainted by our naive attempts to wrestle the chaos in our life. Time will tell. He bears with patience our requests for his service, or when Miriam's presence affects our ability to travel or have fun.

I swear. It's the flagon with the dragon.
I imagine he feels like both the Court Jester and the Henchman, constantly bid here and there by the King and Queen to do this and that for Princess Diva McSillypants.

Alex graduates from high school this year. He plans to work, maybe some college, then head off on a LDS Mission. Upon return, he will sail off to an independent life all of us are destined to live.

Where has the time gone?

I do not think he realizes what his service and sacrifices have meant to us. I hope he knows that we love him. I hope he knows his sister adores him. I hope he knows that he has not been swept under the rug. 

Are we distracted? Yes.

Is he forgotten, or unnoticed, like a chair? Never.

I hope he understands that, when we are all reunited on the other side, to our heavenly home, he will see his sister in all her glory and realize - finally understand - what impact his service had upon her life.

Will any of us be prepared?

Thank you, Boo.

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