The Tiniest of Dancers

By Kevin Kilgarriff

Ali

Synchronicity is defined as a meaningful coincidence. An event that holds more meaning to those involved than your average coincidence might hold. People point towards synchronicities as a sign that there is a higher power driving our existence.  I had heard of the term when I was younger, and even may have experienced it on some small level. But in 2003, I would experience it in a way that I could never have imagined.

My wife and I had been married for almost two years and were in family planning mode.  Many months had gone by while trying to start a family and the monthly news that she wasn’t pregnant was beginning to become frustrating. That news finally changed one morning, and the events became etched in my mind forever.

We stood there in the bedroom embracing. Our smiles stretched across our faces. We knew our lives would never be the same. Our celebration, however, had to be short lived. Life still had to go on and we both had to get to work. I left the house and pulled my car out onto the main road. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face or the happiness from my heart. Nor did I want to. I wanted to scream out in joy and felt like singing a song.  So I quickly turned on the radio.

The first song I heard was Elton John’s Tiny Dancer. As I sang the chorus, I thought, “That’s awesome! If it’s a girl, that’ll be my song for her!” I spent the next few minutes belting out the lyrics in my best high-pitched Elton impersonation. Little did I know of the significance that moment would have for me in just a few short months.

In October, my wife went into early labor. Our daughter was born 11 weeks premature. She weighed just 2 lbs. 7 ounces and could fit into the palms of our hands while they were still held together.  It was both one of the most glorious and most shocking moments of my life.  I was coming to grips with the fact that nearly two and a half months sooner than expected, I was a father.  I was so happy that I never really stopped to think what the ramifications could be of her being born so early. There were numerous health concerns. Among others, her lungs weren’t fully developed, and brain activity is sometimes an issue with premature babies. But in my mind, she just had a long road ahead of her. I don’t recall anything but joy from those earliest moments of her life.

She was immediately placed into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and hooked up to God knows how many wires and machines. If she had been anyone else’s baby and I had walked in to see her, I would have thought that she barely had a chance.  But she was my daughter. I knew she’d be fine.

As the day went on, my wife was moved to a room that she’d spend the next three nights in, and I would need to leave to pick some things up for her from home. She wasn’t due for another 11 weeks and we hadn’t even toured the hospital yet. Much less considered what we might pack into our “Go Bag” for when she went into labor. So I hopped in the car for the trip home.

It’s about a 20-minute ride from the hospital to our house. I spent most of that time on my mobile phone calling friends and family to share the news, still beaming from ear to ear. I was about a mile and a half from home when I hung up the phone for the last time. I drove along in silence for a quarter mile or so and then decided to turn on the radio. Can you guess the first song that I heard? That’s right, Elton John’s Tiny Dancer. As soon as I heard the notes coming from my speakers, my wide eyes turned to the radio in amazement. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It’s certainly possible that I had heard that song in the months since finding out my wife was pregnant. But if I did, I don’t remember it. And none of those times would have been as meaningful as this.

The song that was to be forever tied to the day I found out I was going to be a father has now inexplicably bookended the experience for me. Not only that, it did so with inexplicable timing. Anything could have changed that night that would have changed the experience. I could have left the hospital earlier or later. I could have hung up the phone and turned on the radio earlier in my ride. I could have never decided to turn on the radio at all! But I did. I turned it on at that very moment. And at that very moment, the song that held the most meaning for me with regards to my current situation was playing. It is to this day truly the most meaningful coincidence I have ever experienced.

That was a life-altering moment for me, and it opened up my eyes to the possibility that the universe has connections operating in unseen ways. Connections that help to weave a web of love and life that makes our existence in this world worth experiencing. It made me realize that life is truly more complex than I could have ever imagined. I was now looking at the world differently and I realized that we are indeed meant to waltz through life. Synchronicity is a sign that the world is engaged in a well-timed dance. Realizing this changed how I viewed the world. In the past, I was wearing blinders. And thanks to that synchronistic moment, I would be able to help my daughter see the world the way it was meant to be seen.

And in case you’re wondering, my daughter spent the next seven weeks in the NICU, fighting hard every step of the way and finally coming home when she was just under 4 lbs. She never had any ill effects from being born premature. She’s perfectly healthy and is actually an A student. And to add perhaps even more meaning to this incredible coincidence, she is one of the tinier kids in her class, and she is indeed…a dancer.

Originally Published in the January 2014 Edition of Transformation Magazine (www.transformationmag.com).

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