Friday, October 10, 2008

Life and its unknowns

I've had a few shocks in my life, and they stand out enough that I can list them:

~ Hearing my mother tell me and my brothers when I was 5 years old that "Daddy doesn't live with us anymore." Thirty-six years later, I can still recall getting up one morning and sitting down at our little wooden table for breakfast and hearing her say those words, and the jarring feeling it gave me.

~ Getting the phone call from my brother telling me that our dad had died. I was in the shower when the call came, and my husband at the time interrupted my shower to hand me the phone. When my brother told me, I remember feeling like I couldn't breathe.

~ Having the county sheriff come to my house and tell me that my husband had been found dead in somebody's front yard from a suspected drug overdose. Again, that feeling of not being able to get any air . . . and then the screaming.

~ Having the nurse who was doing a routine ultrasound to confirm dates tell me "There's a sac, and a little heart beating . . . and there's another sac, and another little heart beating. You have twins." I couldn't wrap my mind around it. For several seconds I truly believed that it was a mistake, that the image on the ultrasound screen was stuck on there from the person who had been in the exam room before me. When it sunk in, I cried . . . and cried . . . and cried.

~ Getting the phone call from the geneticist telling me that the genetic workup had confirmed that Finn has Down syndrome. Again, that sense that I was suffocating.

What was shocking about all of these events was that they were so unexpected, un-planned for. Oh, I knew my dad would die someday - probably sooner than later with the way he chose to live his life - and the same goes for my first husband. And the confirming call from the genetisict wasn't wholly suprising - by that time I knew in my heart that Finn had DS. But still, having those things actually happen for real was very shocking. With each of those events I felt like the proverbial rug had been yanked out from under me, and there I was left stumbling, trying to find my footing again and wondering how I was ever going to get through it.

When I was younger, I thought I had my life all planned out - or at least planned to a certain point. The first time I got married, I was 19 years old. My plan was that we were going to be happy together, that we would have 3 kids by the time I was 30, and we would live happily ever after. Instead, my first husband and I dealt with years of infertility, and I didn't have Kevin, my first baby, until I was 29. We weren't happy. It was a mostly horrible marriage, frought with abuse, lies, drug and alcohol abuse. We didn't live happily ever after. Instead, I filed for divorce, and then he died.

Then Michael and I grew from being friends to something more, and we got married. Michael threw himself into the role of father to Kevin. We struggled through the ups and downs of a new marriage, and we learned how to be very happy together. We had a baby . . . then we had twins . . . then we had another baby . . . and another. And before I knew it, I was 40 . . . then 41 . . . with a baby! With a baby with Down syndrome.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine my life turning out as it has. I know I spent the first 30+ years of my life in a constant state of unhappiness. I got to the point that I didn't believe happiness even existed. If someone had told me 15 years ago that I was going to find happiness, I would have laughed my ass off. If someone had told me that I would end up having 6 kids, that I would be 40 and pregnant, that I would end up in a solid, happy marriage, that I would have a special needs child - I don't think I would have believed any of it. It's not the way I planned my life.

But I've learned that life rarely goes according to plan. It's full of unexpected twists and turns. A lot of them hurt. But hopefully they all help us grow.

I'm not sure what my point is, except that my post from yesterday about worrying over the future has had me thinking about it since then - how the future never plays out the way we think it's going to.

Something to think about.


T-rex said...

You have lived quite a life Lisa. You deserve all your happiness, every single bit, and then some.

Nicole O'Dell said...

Well said. Lot's to think about.

Laurie said...

Oh wow...Lisa.
You have certainly had your fair share (and then some!) of unknowns. Thinking of you!!

Cleo said...

Thanks to all the lessons we have learned from all the experiences and relationships in our lives, we have grown kinder, stronger and wiser.
I think that because the future not always plays out the way we think it’s going to, we need to appreciate the beauty and the value of the present moment more Lisa. We need to have faith in ourselves and in a higher power, so we can be confident that regardless of what happens tomorrow we will rise above any circumstance and then we can begin to welcome and embrace what is in store for us one day at a time, accepting the things we cannot change and changing the things we can, making peace with our fate.