Life sometimes has a way of not working out quite the way you thought it would. (The whole "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans" theory.)
By way of illustration of this principle, I live on the East Coast, I'm married to a nondemonstrative Yankee, and I have a special needs child. None of that was on my agenda (until I met the Yankee in question in connection with point two, anyway.) Decisions lead inexorably to consequences, and on top of that, in some cases things just happen and you have to play the hand you're dealt.
Thinking about this because of a woman I met at the gym the other night. She is a little older than me, in her late 40s. Married, but hadn't wanted any kids. She went to the doctor one day because she was really not feeling well, and was told after a few tests that she was pregnant. Her response? "Could be, doc, but I'm betting it's more than that: I just feel SO awful." The doc had her come back for an ultrasound that afternoon.
To make a long story short, she was pregnant with triplets! At 41. Unplanned, certainly no IVF involved. All boys, as well: two identical, one fraternal. They were born at 26 or 27 weeks, all three tiny tiny tiny. One had a major brain bleed shortly after birth and ended up with a diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy, but all are happy thriving elementary schoolers now, thank God. But just think about the changes in that woman's life. She went from living the DINK dream to having a difficult, abbreviated pregnancy and then premature triplet boys to raise, one with significant health issues, all while still working a job that requires travel because her income was needed. Sure, you could perhaps argue that it was a birth control issue, but it could just as easily (and more likely!) have been one full-term baby that she ended up with. Three preemies at once?? Talk about an almighty spanner being thrown into whatever plans you had. What in the world do you call that? Luck? Fate?
Unexpected births or deaths. Injury. Illness. These sorts of things have to make you wonder how much control you really have over your life and how much of it is just buckling your seat belt and hanging on for the ride! And this is really where the Serenity Prayer (from which the title of this blog is derived) comes in, too.
Accept the things we can't change. Try like hell to change the things that are actually within our power to change. And hope for the discernment needed to be able to tell the one situation from the other. In the face of what often appears to be a completely fickle and capricious universe, what else can we do?