My son wants to be a guitar player in a "bando." He wants to be an Olympic swimmer, or skier. Either one, or both. He's ready for the pro bowling tour and the New York Yankees will be calling any day now, but mostly he loves his guitar.
I'm in love with his enthusiasm for all possibilities, along with his belief that if he says it, then it has to come true. He hasn't experienced enough of life to know that's rarely the case. He still holds faith the world is waiting for him, and isn't it? My hopes are high and I can't stop wondering who he'll grow to be.
A very different path was paved for him the day he was adopted out of a Russian orphanage. If life is pre-ordained, was it meant to be he'd come and live with us? I like to think so, or have we disrupted some sort of cosmic order? Will he still be the man he was destined to be?
We were told at the orphanage, even at 9 months old, he loved music. He would pull himself up on a chair and move his little body in time to a piano. I remember thinking how sweet that was.
Over time it became obvious, he didn't just love music, he thrived on it. He would "blabble" all the time. He'd bang his hand or toy against his mouth and make blabble sounds over and over. He was making his own music.
As he got older he'd watch with fascination, musicians of all genres on TV and mimic their movements, whether it was playing an imaginary instrument or instinctively moving his body in ways good dancers are taught. He couldn't get enough.
When he was barely three, he marched determinedly up to my husband and declared he had a guitar in his brain. Maybe he does.
Where does he get this? I can't say this love of music was nurtured by me. We don't have a piano here, thousands of miles from his birthplace, and I'm not particularly musical. I can sing a lullabye or two and play some good music in the car, but aside from a brief encounter with a mediocre, toddler music class, that's been about the extent of it.
|Air guitar in ski helmet with Snowy|
What if from here on out, I don't nurture this love? Will his passion survive? On the other hand, what if I encourage it? Where will it take him? Will music play a strong role in his life forever since it's so clearly engrained in him?
If nature and nurture exist so strongly for some things, what about us, the breast cancer thrivers? Are we destined to live out our lives only one way due to the nature of our genes?
Are we messing with destiny when we base decisions on BRCA testing, prophylatic and necessary surgeries, radiation, chemo? Are we altering what nature dealt us or are we simply nurturing a bruised body to the best of our ability?
We can wonder if the mutations found in our cells are part of our natural biology or were they nurtured by the carcinogens in our environment. We can question whether we truly have control over our choices or is our destiny already etched into our DNA, regardless. As my boy's love of music seems to be.
These questions are way too big for me and though, lately I've been giving all of it a lot of thought, I'd really rather not. I try to control some things. I can choose to exercise because it's good for me. I can give up drinking a Friday night beer with my husband because I heard the yeast used to brew it is dangerous for estrogen-positive cancers. The same for soy. Now, I'm hearing almonds, peanuts, and chick peas after believing for years, those were healthy options.
Confusion is reigning over my choices, which ultimately leads me to accept, I can only do the best I can. There are still so many things I can't control. The natural aspect of our genes are what they are. The mutations will win or they'll lose, but where we win is in the way we nurture our emotions. We can think positively and set our sights on a future we've chosen to believe is possible. Just like my little guy when he dreams of being in a "bando.".