Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Everything happens for a reason

I feel like I've lived an almost charmed life. Oh, I've had hardships to overcome and challenges to tackle.  But I've always managed to have a semblance of control over the situation. You see, every time I had hit a rough patch in my life, I was able to make a change or find a way to negotiate through the experience. My entry into teaching was pretty bumpy with a spectacularly failed attempt at teaching grade 3.  It was so bad that I quit my job, left my home town and moved halfway across the country to live in a hippy haven for 18 months. I'll never teach elementary school again, and to this day still have nightmares about teaching kindergarten. But I was able to find a way to make sense of the situtation and to use it it to make a change that I could live with.

When Phoenix was born with DS, I was at a total loss. I couldn't change it. I couldn't give her back (and believe me, I wanted to) and I couldn't make the DS go away. Because as we all know, you can't pull chromosomes out of people.

And I definitely could not come to terms that this had happened for a reason.

Everything happens for a reason. I hate this phrase. I hate it. I used to believe it. I used to think that I could draw meaning from or to each event in my life. I went round and round trying to find meaning where none was to be found. Why was my child born with DS? It didn't make sense. This wasn't supposed to happen to me.

I think everyone finds their own answers to these questions and this is the only thing I could come up with:

Sometimes things happen and there is no meaning to it. Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes cells fail to split properly, and sometimes this results in an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. And all of these 'sometimes' happened to me and to Phoenix.

It just happened and it doesn't mean anything. There is no moral. It just is.

I've also come to realize that my life hasn't really been charmed. I just view it that way. I look back at the challenges and can see that they were valuable opportunities to grow as a person. Even my failed attempt at teaching elementary school helped me to see that I really wanted to teach older students. So when I was finally ready to try my hand at teaching again I landed a job within the family of schools I currently teach in and found my niche working with troubled teens. I have grown tremendously as a person within these past 7 years teaching behavioural teens. But I have grown more in the last 2. And that is because of Phoenix and because of Down syndrome.

Phoenix wasn't supposed to have Down syndrome. It didn't happen for a reason. But it did happen and we are living with it. Happily, I might add.


  1. I hate that saying, too. And I had to read this sentence several times, "Phoenix wasn't supposed to have Down syndrome," because I love it. Truly. I don't see it as a blessing, but I see blessings come to our lives because of it. There's a difference. I love that you see that as well. <3

    1. I feel exactly the same way Heather. I don't see it as a blessing either, even though Phoenix herself is one. Kelly and Phoenix are some of the luckiest kids in the world because they both have mothers who rock.

  2. I read this hoping with every word that you wouldn't end it saying you now agree with the everything has a reason quote. I am so glad you didn't tie this up in that bow. Thanks. Very nice.

  3. I completely agree with the group. That saying is one of the ones that makes me want to kick someone in the teeth. I also love the other comments regarding DS as a blessing and how its not, but it brings us blessings. I couldn't agree with you all more!

  4. Sometimes accomplishments are not the things we do, but the community and change we create and birth around us. And sometimes this comes from figuring out how to live (and love) in the midst of the things that aren't supposed to happen. Just is. I love that! And, there are soooooo many things people say about DS and particularly about parents of children with DS that drive me nuts! I too, agree with "the group!"

  5. The older I get , the more I believe that our lives are defined by our relationships - not by how smart we are, or how much money we make or how many things we accumulate. I hope that Phoenix's life is full of strong friendships and many connections - just like mine is.