Friday, February 24, 2012


Most of the best things in my life have been surprises.

Finnian was one of them.

I remember well the day I found out I was expecting him. It was early summer, and I had spent the morning meticulously planning out my final year of graduate school.  I had finalized some transfer credits with the registrar, calculated and recalculated my completed coursework and remaining degree requirements.  And, to my great relief, found that just two full-load semesters would allow me to finish in April of 2006!  Amazing!  Stupendous!

I went grocery shopping that afternoon with my 18-month-old Isaac.  And because of some funny symptoms, somewhat spontaneously bought a pregnancy test, which I took when Matt came home from work.

To my great surprise (and even more to Matt's), the test came back positive.  (As did the second one, which I took because Matt didn't think the first double-pink-lines were dark enough to be right).  A quick online calculator showed the due date to be February of 2006.

Needless to say, graduation was postponed another year.  Instead I got this guy:

Thank God.

Of my three sons it is Finnian who consistently causes me the least amount of trouble. He is kind of unbelievably sweet.  Since he was a baby, Finn has gotten along with almost everyone in his life, and put up with inconvenience and difficulty with little or no complaint.  In fact his "terrible twos" took me by terrible surprise, because he turned out to be normal and threw tantrums.  [Not my Finn!]  But the stage passed quickly, and Finn has continued to be extra thoughtful and compassionate.  He takes the world in through his big brown eyes and responds to the pain he finds in it with a compassion that's always been beyond his years.  I can still remember when he was three and I, for whatever reason, was in the bedroom crying. Finnian found his way in, took my face in his hands, and wiped my tears away.

But Finn breaks my heart, too. Not by willfulness or by screaming "I hate you" (the first he has plenty of, the second he's not yet discovered).  The heartbreak comes from the same, unfeigned selflessness you'd think would build it up. His simple loyalties, his flexible contentedness, his unquestioning compassion--it kills me sometimes. That terrible expression, "He wasn't meant for this world" strikes me on occasion as referring to Finn. He seems to operate from a different set of rules, coming as it were from a different world with a different compass that puts mine to shame.  And it's that goodness of his that breaks my heart.

But I won't say that he wasn't meant for this world, even if it comes to mind and threatens to scare the wabajillies out of me.  He was born, after all, which means he was meant for this world (scary sayings aside).  And I think the world needed Finn.  Certainly I did.