Synchronicity, chance, and fatherhood: ‘It’s all just the way it needs to be for now’
by John P. Morgan | Special to the Courier
My wife Tracy and I didn’t know it yet, but on May 26, 2015 a little baby was struggling to be born.
This little baby almost died a few times during the process. She did not look “perfect”; her skin was blotchy and tough. She had little bruises all over her body from trying to struggle her way out from the womb. She was placed in a Los Angeles intensive care unit and carefully watched and monitored. Her birth mother got to hold her a few times, but not as much as she probably would have liked. She didn’t even have a name.
The nurses said she would just lay in her station and look around. She never cried much but just sort of laid there looking at everything around her.
Her mother was from China. I’m guessing the mother’s father flew out to pick up his daughter, but not the baby. She would stay in the United States in her ICU chamber without her mother. Without anyone.
A few days before that Tracy and I had concluded we probably weren’t going to be parents. But she wasn’t as ready to give up the possibility as I was. She had a “wish” baby, a little doll I had brought home from the swap meet. She dressed it, “fed” it, and laid it down in the crib we already had ready just in case we got a call from the agency.
I was sure she had lost her mind.
There wasn’t going to be a call. I knew that. I just decided to be thankful no matter what. While Tracy was busy “pretending” I was busy deciding what to turn our spare room we had set up as a baby/child’s room into.
Meanwhile, at the urging of her father, nine days after her birth the real baby’s mother made the decision to give up her daughter. She surrendered her and the baby went into the system.
On Wednesday, June 10, 2015 Tracy was taking my sister to the hospital for a routine procedure. I was already at the swap meet procuring goodies for my vintage booth at the antique store where I worked.
I called my friend George because it was his birthday. He was one of my spiritual mentors. Oddly enough, one of my other spiritual mentors, Carl, was born on June 11. These two men were both like father figures to me and through their love and belief in me, helped me heal a lot of the lingering issues I had with my own dad even though he had been gone for about four years.
Tracy was calling on the other line, so I excused myself from George and took her call. She was crying, blubbering. The thought that something happened to my sister raced through my head, and I started to feel sweaty. She assured me Cindy was fine, and that she had called to ask me if she wanted to say yes to the lady at the agency who just called her wondering if we wanted a baby that had been born 10 days before. We were the second family she had called. The first had quickly declined when they found out she had a skin condition.
Then I started crying. Of course. Of course we wanted that baby.
I asked if I could leave work early and Tracy and I drove to LA, but for some reason we couldn’t get her that day. We weren’t even allowed to see her, so we drove home.
It was a long night. I wrestled with lingering demons as to what kind of dad I would be. I determined I would suck, so I started saving money then for her future therapy.
The next morning we drove back to LA and were allowed to go into the ICU. And there she was. Her skin looked pink and healthy. Her eyes were so bright and shiny. I swear she was smiling when we held her. Strangely enough, it didn’t feel awkward holding her.
She was perfect.
Tracy looked up at me. She smiled her beautiful smile. “Helena,” she said. “Her name is Helena Jane,” named after Tracy’s grandmothers. We signed mountains of paperwork, then we put her into our car and drove home.
That night I sat in my chair. My dogs Bongo and Ponzu laid at my feet. I looked at my obsessively clean house. Well, this will probably be the last time it’ll look like this, I thought. And I smiled.
Life is perfectly imperfect, lives running into lives, timelines crossing into timelines, synchronicity, and chance colliding into each other. It’s all just the way it needs to be for now.
And that, my friends, is enough.
John P. Morgan is a 15-year Pomona resident and a retired elementary school teacher and counselor turned vintage dealer at Steamjunk Vintage Oddities.