This I Believe

Laura - Sudbury, Massachusetts
Entered on February 26, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children
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I believe that to find inner peace, we need to reinvent ourselves and adjust to create a “new” normal as our lives change. This I believe is the most basic emotional need we have as human beings. Why? Because life has its own plan for us. And our best defense is being open to changing our offense.

When our first child Kate reached the tender age of eight weeks, her pediatrician told us over the phone (“Mrs. Rutherford, are you sitting down?”) that she could have some type of syndrome. She had a number of genetic abnormalities that were — until that point — blissfully unknown to us.

That night as I looked up medical terms, terror made its way through my veins. Visions of my daughter as a vegetable laying in an institutional bed or thoughts of Kate in a wheelchair while her peers ran around the soccer field appeared in my mind. Were we supposed to raise a child with severe mental and physical disabilities? Couldn’t someone have warned us? I was a worrier and a pessimist (ironically, one who had lived a pretty much charmed life until this point) and not at all strong. Surely God should have known that. A person’s intrinsic mold cannot be altered at the age of 30, right?

My dear friend repeated the following words to me daily “Life will return to normal. It doesn’t seem possible, but it will.” Now my friend knows how it feels to be blindsided. Her own daughter had a liver transplant at the age of eight months. I longed for her comforting words to be true.

My husband and I took Kate to every specialist in search of what, if any (because surely they’ve made a huge mistake!) diagnosis to give our daughter. None was found. We were told to “wait and see how she develops.” But there was never that moment of “BOOM” here’s your answer. I had to get used to this idea of living with the unknown — and learn to make my life work.

After mourning for that child we thought we’d have, (The one we wanted, right?) I slowly opened myself up to the child I loved. And if I loved her, why couldn’t I let that incredible gift of love be my offense? Why couldn’t I create my own “normal” out of a situation that appeared as anything but on the outside? Maybe this situation wasn’t in my original plan, but I had to do this for her and for the two children we had after her. Heck, I wanted my life to get back to normal more than anyone. And I had the power to do it.

We have blessings around us always if we look. We can use them when life brings the unexpected (and when doesn’t it?). To have peace, we need to adapt accordingly. And so my dear friend was right after all. My life did return to normal, albeit a “new” normal. This I believe.