Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Easter Conversation, Not Typical: God -Sighting 7,890
Our Easter conversation was not your typical family discussion. We discussed sperm. I was the instigator, I'm sure. I shared some random fact from some random article I read about sperm donors and how sperm is a major export for the US. There were statistics on how one guy had donated so much sperm he'd paid his way through college and graduate school and how donors get paid more for higher degrees etc. Then I mentioned how one family sued a sperm bank because their child ended up having cystic fibrosis. The horror on my sisters face grew. Why? She couldn't fathom. Because they wanted perfect children. Of course, not everyone who chooses this route does, but that was the population this article was highlighting. Then we launched into adoption and how wrong it is that white children are more expensive to adopt than children who are obviously not white. With each story my sister's passion grew.
What is the point of children? Yes, we all want "perfect" children. But, I think the point of parenting is learning to release control and realizing that there are things you do as a parent that help your children grow and bloom, but then there is free will, the roll of science, and numerous other factors that are out of our control that we have to learn to surrender and accept.
My sister's horror is one rooted in a deep love for a little boy who, frankly, most of us would initially say we would never want. But there is such beauty in my sister and in her family because this is exactly the child that they do want and that they do embrace and who they wouldn't change. My sister Laura has modeled grief, anger, acceptance, and joy.
Is society really better if we "weed" out all the imperfect? (I can think of another society who tried this...not a good thing. Besides, then we are allowing others to define perfection or "right.")
When I was pregnant with my three little boys, the fear that one of them might have autism was great. My sister's son had been born this way. We both tend to see this as a genetic issue, so I was scared. When each of them met a major milestone, like making eye contact, relating to others, etc. I was so relieved. Sure, I didn't really want a child with autism. I really didn't want a child with any genetic disorder. This is a hard subject and one that we should wrestle with continually.
My sister has not been damaged from have an autistic child. And just so you know, he is very severe, on the spectrum. The biggest benefit of Tyler? He has given to his family...there are now two sisters who embrace and live fully into the fact that bad things do happen and still God is good. That one doesn't have to be perfect to love and to feel love back. That joy comes from the unexpected. That the imperfect childhood is actually the best gift a parent can be forced to hand their children. The richness that Tyler's sisters have received from having a brother with a disability is obvious to me. The maturity and empathy that they both possess outpaces their peers. They embody contentment well. To me contentment, not complacency, is a spiritual discipline, a fruit of God's spirit and one of my biggest God-sightings to date.