I Pity the Miracles

I actually feel a bit sorry for miracle babies.

Yeah yeah yeah, I get it, they’re called miracle babies in the first place because they are alive in spite of something that they shouldn’t have been able to overcome, doctors can’t explain it, minds are collectively blown. But once the miracle babies blow people’s minds, then there’s an added layer of expectancy about what the babies go on to do with their lives after they do the miraculous surviving, which is why I feel a bit sorry for them.

Still not following me? Let’s play this out.

Baby Suzie’s mom was told that Suzie would never survive outside the womb because she never developed a brain, but then BAM! Three days before her due date, Suzie’s brain develops at warp-speed, defying all medical odds, and she’s born normal and healthy and with a reasonably high IQ. The crowd goes wild. People wax philosophical about how meaningful Suzie’s existence must be for her to overcome so much. She lived because she hasn’t served her purpose yet, she is destined for so much more. She wasn’t meant to leave this earth yet because she has so much to accomplish, they will say to each other in slightly hushed tones, rubbing their arms as they get goosebumps thinking about how Suzie is going to make the world such a better place. Maybe she’ll cure cancer, or be the first woman president of the United States. Perhaps she’ll finally find a way to bridge all of the religious and cultural gaps that keep the world at war and we will finally all know peace on earth. Maybe she’ll crack the code and reveal to the world whether or not a hot dog is just a type of sandwich. The possibilities are endless! They don’t know what she’s going to do, but it’s going to be big.

Now, cut to Suzie’s mom rage-sobbing in her worn and stained recliner because forty-year-old Suzie is a Pizza Hut delivery driver who lives with her boyfriend Snake in his mom’s basement. Or, okay, maybe its not quite that bad, maybe Suzie lives in a small but tidy studio apartment with Snake and works a desk job and eats her lunch in the park nearby on nice days. But, Suzie sure as hell isn’t curing cancer. And nobody stops to ask her whether she’s happy, because she was supposed to be destined for so much more.

Suzie is just an ordinary person living an ordinary life, because smart capable people often grow up to live ordinary lives, no matter their origin story. Suzie’s last-minute, life-saving brain development may have been a miracle because it defied modern science, but ultimately it doesn’t obligate her to do more for the world than those of us who were just born, with no miracles or fanfare. But because she was a miracle baby, all sorts of people expect way more from Suzie than they otherwise would have.

On the other hand, people watched 16 and Pregnant and fully expected the girls on that show to be poor and live their whole lives in trailers or vans by the river, so if they manage to land a desk job or even a gig delivering pizzas, then the whole world cheers. So I guess there’s that.

 

2 thoughts on “I Pity the Miracles

  1. Okay, I am wayyy late to this party, but I have experienced this first hand. Apparently, I learned to read when I was 2 years old. My mom would point to words in the newspaper and I could tell her what they were. She was convinced I would be super smart and have a high-paying job and cure cancer or some shit like that. A few years ago we were sitting around with family, talking about how smart someone’s kid was and how they were really going to make something of themselves and my says “Well look at Jill, she learned to read when she was 2 and I thought sure she’d be super successful, but she’s not any better off than the rest of us!” Um…thanks? Lol! My mom is really a very sweet person, but sometimes her words are a bit more cutting than she intends them to be. So apparently I was some kind of genius baby who morphed into Average Jane instead. Oh well, someone has to be average, we can’t all be SUPAHSTAHS!

    • Uh, WOW. That comment from your mom is HARSH!! Being a genius doesn’t look like that much fun anyway, I prefer to wow people when I exceed their low expectations rather than disappoint them when I can’t meet their ridiculously high ones. We can be in the Average Jane Club together!

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