Nia Vardalos is stubborn. I know this because she admits early in her memoir, Instant Mom, that she went through the emotionally and physically draining process of in vitro fertilization 13 times. Dead set on becoming a mother, she refused to listen to the word “No.” As a gal cut from the same tenacious cloth, I respect that. Give me the opportunity to prove someone wrong and I will leap at the chance. But what happens when something is truly out of your control? When do you finally have to let go and say something just wasn’t meant to be? For Vardalos, it was lucky #13, apparently.
After 13 attempts to have a baby, Nia Vardalos decided it was time to give adoption a chance and is thrilled to share her positive results. This book is a must for anyone having fertility issues or considering adoption. It is also a great read for mothers in general because it is a reminder of how wonderful parenthood can be. But I am not a mother, nor am I currently trying to become one, and I loved this book because it redefines what makes a perfect family. Vardalos is happy to tell you how great adoption can be, but the key takeaway is in seeing her accept the life that is right for her. It is in realizing that when you finally just let life happen, you will be surprised by all the happy turns it takes.
I grew up assuming a few things: I would go to the same college as my brother, parents, and grandparents where I would meet the boy I would marry. By 24 we would be wed and I would spend some time in the big city of Atlanta before moving back to Savannah to work for the family business. It is not only what I expected but what I (thought I) wanted. Unfortunately (or fortunately in my case), Life laughs behind your back like a high school mean girl when you try to plan it out like that. When I didn’t secure my Mrs. degree in college and only received job offers in New York, I realized Life was full on rejecting the plans I had made. I decided to stop being so stubborn about how my life should be and decided to just work with what actually was.
I embraced the unknown and have never been happier. I discovered a world filled with theater, exotic cuisines, and convenient public transportation. I said I would never marry a Yankee but Life found it hilarious that I was once again trying to plan things and threw a Connecticut-bred boyfriend in my direction. I decided to just go with it and haven’t found reason to complain yet.
It was not necessarily the easiest transition. Vardalos candidly chronicles the grief of infertility and the early stages of adoption when her daughter struggled to communicate or sleep alone. I didn’t arrive at my current “I Heart NY” status immediately either. Everyone wore so much black, my type of comfort food was impossible to find, and accents here are weird. Nothing was familiar. I stumbled into New York, but once there I found a world that has made me whole. Like Nia Vardalos, when I stopped trying to force the life I was “supposed” to have, I found a beautiful reality that exceeded my expectations.