Selflessness In A Selfish World: Confronting Life-Changing Decisions

Sheryl’s Success Strategies – By Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Selflessness In A Selfish World:  Confronting Life-Changing Decisions


Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

Sheryl Nicholson, CSP

I married a bachelor…A big, kind, gentle and quiet man that I’m sure didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he proposed to this mother of 4.  The proposal came  in the form of a multiple choice questionnaire (with ring attached), delivered by mail from several states away.  He was my total opposite like most of us….opposites DO attract. I’m sure he was as shocked as I was when I said “yes.”

After 2 years of marriage I recognized his daily routine of greeting me at the end of his workday with “How was your day Dear?”  One day my reply was “Honey, you better sit down for this one.”

My oldest daughter Mia had transferred to Texas.  While there, she hired 4 young women and brought them back to Tampa for 10 days of training.  They were all staying at a hotel when she phoned me excitedly, “MOM, this is just like the Oprah Winfrey show.” “What is it Mia,” I replied.  “Mom, you know those girls I hired, well one of them was up all night with a stomach ache and we called an ambulance and they took her to the hospital, and Mom, she just gave birth to a baby and didn’t even know she was pregnant!”  “Yeah right, Mia”  “No mom, I interviewed her, she didn’t look pregnant, she surely wouldn’t have switched jobs and how could she have known she would give birth in these ten days.  This is incredible I’m going to the hospital.” click, she hung up!

Around 4 o’clock she called again “Mom, this is just like Oprah’s show,  since she didn’t know she was pregnant, no one back home knows, so she’s getting on a plane tomorrow and going home like nothing happened.”  “What’s she gonna do with that baby?” I asked.  “Oh just leave it… someone will take it.” “Mia, you can’t do that with a child.  That baby could be bounced from home to foster home for years.  I’d take that child before I let that happen!” I replied.  Mia exclaimed, “Mom you’ll do WHAT?”  “UH, uh, uh, well you talk with the mother and see if she’d like to have a name and phone number to leave the child with instead of losing her to a system for 18 years, and I guess I’d better talk to Gary when he gets home.”  At 6 pm…” Honey, you better sit down for this one”

I began to tell the story and in disbelief,  came his reply “Yeah, right, she didn’t know she was pregnant, sure,  it ‘s gonna get left behind, ah huh, we’re gonna adopt.” I stood firm, “Honey, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  If Mia hadn’t gotten transferred to that city, hired that particular girl, kept her here for10 days of training. Honey,  here’s a child on a golden platter, if you ever want a child of your own this is the only way it’s gonna happen since I can’t give birth anymore.”  Overwhelmed he answered, “Well you can’t make life changing decisions like that in minutes.”  Focused, I said “Well sleep on it and leave me a note in the morning.”

Now, do you think I found a note from this stable, quiet, likes everyday to be the same, guy?  Nope, nowhere!  9 am the phone rang, “Hi Sheryl this is Sue, I’m a social worker  from the hospital. I just talked with the mother and she said you can have the baby.  Want to come and get it?”  Stunned I mumbled um, um, um, at that exact same time, I heard footsteps coming up the stairs.  It’s my husband Gary.  Now for two years he normally worked an hour from home but here he was at 9 am climbing up the stairs, into the bedroom.  He sits down on the bed and quietly whispers, “Who ya talking to?”  I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote “How would you like to pick up your baby daughter?”  He took the pen, scribbled on the paper and returned it to me.

“What if she gets sick? Do we need an attorney? What’s it gonna cost? What if she changes her mind?” I read it and tore the paper in half returning the original question “How would you like to pick up your baby daughter?’  I told Sue “I’d like to help but adoption is an expensive process and I don’t have any money because I just paid off my credit cards.  I just picked my book up from the printer and still owe him money.”  “Do you have an attorney”, Sue asked.  “No”. She then said  “Let me call one for you , Sheryl”.  Five minutes later came the return call.  “I found an attorney (3 miles from my house, can you believe it?) and he said since there was no one involved until  now, it will cost about $2000.  Have you got 2 grand?” Sue asked. I thought, “Hum, $2000, $2000, wait a minute, I just paid off my visa card, I could put her on a cash advance.”

I rushed into Wal-Mart to the pharmacist and yelled “I’m having a baby, what do they drink?”  I had totally lost my mind for a few minutes!   That night I went to a pre-planned book signing party.   I glanced over at my non-party animal husband, Gary.  There he stood with his arms crossed looking totally bored. “Hey, let’s go see her” I suggested.  “Nah, visiting hours are over in 10 minutes and it’ll take 20 to get there.  “Oh come on” I replied as I grabbed his arm and tugged him outside to the car.  When we got the hospital you could hear a whispering hum as we walked down the hall.  We were greeted by nurses that explained, “You see not even the paramedics knew this girl was pregnant, if they had they would have taken her to a birthing hospital down the street.  There are no babies here”,  they giggled.

As we walked down this long hall, I saw my big, quiet Gary pull down on the handle of the door.  Inside this great big room was nothing…nothing except one little crib.  And as we walked closer we saw one tiny soul.  I watched as my husband leaned down  to touch her and just as he did, she reached out and wrapped her tiny fingers around his.  I watched and heard Gary whisper in his deep voice “Hi Honey, this is your Daddy”  This beautiful baby’s name is Sara Lee.

We could have never MADE this happen – it was destined to be and I enjoy sharing this from the stage as my signature story thanks to the nudge from Cavett Robert!
About Sheryl Nicholson, CSP:  CSP Sheryl Nicholson is an International Professional Speaker and Author and rated in the top 8% in the profession.  She has been doing training since the 1980s and also has a private coaching business. She is known as a People Productivity Expert focusing on skill development in sales, leadership, time management, goals, communication, and life balance. Her articles are published everywhere. For more information visit Sheryl’s website, .