Well … it's official. On Feb. 1 at 10:05 a.m. (central time) my nephew was born into this world and I became an aunt! After nine months of anticipation and wonder, my oldest sister spent a mere 40 minutes in labor that resulted in a 7-pound-13-ounce beautiful baby boy with a head full of hair.
Calls were made, tears of joy were shed, questions were asked and shock settled in as digital pictures introduced our newest addition through e-mails. While my whole family began to make its way to the hospital, I had to make my way to class – stifling my remorse at not living in Chicago and therefore not being present for the celebrations, hugs and quality time that would fill the day.
As I walked through campus, trying my best to stop crying (happy tears) so I wouldn't look puffy and waterlogged, I realized that I too had people to call who were also awaiting the breaking news. I whipped out my cell phone and within minutes I no longer felt left out of the celebration. Friends who had grown up with me, who knew my sister back when she wore braces and tormented us (as older siblings do), rejoiced and joined me in my elated state, some even making calls of their own.
Friends who only knew my sister from stories and pictures hugged me and filled my day with congratulations. Even my classmates, who may not even have known my name, shared excited warm smiles and patient listening ears as I rambled on about the birth. While I was nowhere near the birthday party for my nephew, I was still able to feel as if I were as every bit involved … thanks to the age-old lesson of sharing.
Sharing was one of the first lessons I remember learning. I was always told to share my toys, share my friends, share my ice cream … pretty much share whatever I had that others also wanted. So I did, even when I didn't want to.
However, the one thing I never had a problem sharing was the one thing I was never actually told I had to – sharing moments in my life. I guess that's just something we don't need to enforce, because even if we are incredibly independent, as lonesome as it can be, or as stubborn or lazy as possible, the chance to share noteworthy times in our lives is something we rarely turn down.
We want to share our moments of joy, happiness and excitement. Even if we like to have time alone to stop and take it all in, we eventually become eager at the prospect of sharing our elation with someone else. By sharing our joy, whether it comes from a milestone in our life or a simple pleasure, we give someone else a reason to smile. And in return, our own delight grows because not only have we made someone else happy, but we have also confirmed our own feelings of joyfulness.
We still need and want to share the moments in our life that aren't filled with happiness. While our desire to share these times is not so we can spread our feelings of gloom; it is because sharing, and finding someone to relate to and listen, helps. And most likely, when we do find a person to take the time to share our pain, stress, sadness or confusion, they almost always offer in return a moment of happiness, a kind word or a funny story so once again happiness can make its way back into our lives, by someone else sharing it.
That's the fabulous thing about sharing – anyone can do it, anytime. While sharing is just another form of communication, and even sometimes just an outlet, the fact that someone wants to share a moment of his or her life with you makes it a gift. Whether it is a small child sharing an exaggerated story, a stranger sharing a random thought or a friend sharing a feeling – they have chosen you to bring into their life. So take the time to join them, no matter what the occasion, and remember that we have always been taught to share for a reason.
Kelly Hagenah is a senior speech communications major. Her column runs every Thursday.