For Maverick

By , Bixby, OK

It was just a cheap blue and white picture frame that my sister and I received Christmas Eve, but what was inside changed our lives forever. It seemed to be a grey smudge on a black background, but in actuality, it was something new, something so delicate it was dangerous. It was our brother. He was set to be born in late January, and whenever that day came we would travel to Oklahoma City, meet with the adoption agent, and hopefully take him home. So we waited. From Christmas Eve until January twenty-fourth, my sister, my parents, and I spent every moment waiting for the call that would tell us it was time. It finally came on a Tuesday night.

The next day my sister and I went with our parents to the hospital room, where my brother was asleep in a clear plastic crib. All I could think was that he was so tiny. His face was red and his eyes were closed, and he was so, so small. In that moment, everything was good, and our family was complete.

I could feel his body heat through the blankets when I held him. I expected it to be hard, holding and taking care of him, but it wasn’t. I remember thinking that I would give him the world. We spent the next few hours taking turns holding the baby while we waited to take him home. Our happiness lasted until another lawyer came into the room and told my sister, cousin, and I to wait in the lobby. We sat there forever in plastic coated armchairs; when my aunt finally came to get us, she was crying. My sister asked her how bad it was, she said it was pretty bad, and my sister broke down. We followed her back to the hospital room. My dad was standing, rocking the baby, while my mom sat on the hospital bed. DHS was coming to take the baby and we didn’t know why, but legally there was nothing we could do. My dad handed me the baby; I held him and looked down at his face, so perfect and still and calm. Soon I had to put him back in the hospital crib, and all of eternity passed in a second as I walked to the bedside and laid him down on a blanket. Someone said it was time to go. I adjusted the blankets around him and whispered to him the only thing I could think to say. “I love you, I’m sorry. Goodbye.”

That weekend I watched my family from the outside. My parents refused to try anything I suggested, and my sister seemed to have forgotten anything had happened at all. It was infuriating. Regardless of all the time I spent begging God, my mom, and my dad to give my brother back, it never happened.

Slowly, we all moved on, but my brother has stayed in the back of my mind since I lost him. On that day I was ripped from the world of childhood, from the naive belief that I could make things happen by wishing hard enough, into the real world. Things don’t always work out. People don’t always get what they deserve. Family isn’t always forever, but that doesn’t mean we stop trying. Bad things happen; they happen to everyone, and they happen often, but there comes a time when the only thing left to do is to accept them and do everything in your power to improve them. Sometimes the only thing left to do is give up.

All my life I’d lived under the pretense that people were limitless. On that day my endless faith in circumstance was shattered, and I discovered that I would have to work with tireless fervor for what was important to me. I’m still learning, but I think that’s what growing up is all about.






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