Catherine and Sarah have been taking karate. I know! Crazy, right? Someone replied when they heard that, “Is there anything Catherine doesn’t do?” Ha! What a great question. And terrific irony. This is a story about something different though.
They take karate due to an extraordinary opportunity provided by Casey Cares and Okinawan Karate Dojo. This means the class is comprised of medically needy kids and their siblings. Sometimes, we have kids who just watch because they’re too sick to participate that week. Sometimes, they can’t make it. One has a prosthetic leg. Catherine is the only one in a wheelchair. Most of the kids don’t visibly show their sickliness. Many have cancer.
I’ve gotten to know one of the moms a bit because she has an 8-year-old daughter who became fast friends with Sarah. Her children, and there are five of them, all have an inherited genetic disorder that causes them all to have a lot of medical issues. They get it from her side of the DNA and from what I can tell, it’s a given that they’ll inherit the gene, making it about 100% chance she’ll walk a more difficult road than most moms. I commented to her last night, “You know, it’s pretty cool that you have continued having children even though you know they’re going to have so many medical issues.” I was kind of surprised I said it. Brian frequently tells me he’s surprised what comes out of my mouth and he thinks I don’t think enough before I speak. This surely would have been one of those times!
She replied so openly and with such joy about how we don’t know what we’ll get with any child and immediately pointed out that I had done the same when I had Sarah. True. We wound up talking about how no one knows what will happen when they decide to have children. Even if your kid is born totally “normal” (whatever that means), it’s possible they could become addicted to drugs, or develop cancer or have a baby at the age of 15. No one knows. And so any parent is walking this similar journey in actuality. It’s so nice to think about the many ways my road is “normal”. Believe it or not, it helps with the many, many steps of “ab-normality.” The conversation made me happy.
I woke up today thinking about our conversation and realized that having a child is perhaps one of the greatest lessons in faith that is possible for humans on the earth to experience. And then, if you choose to have another child, it extends that faith into hope. We either hope for something better – or different – or the same. We hope. As this circled around my brain this morning, I found myself repeating in my mind, “Faith, hope and love… and the greatest of these is love.” I realized that no matter how our children come to us, no matter how much faith and hope we have going into it, the reality is that with every addition to our family, love expands.