A friend of mine once reminded me of a movie that has long been a favorite of mine, Serendipity – starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. It’s a great movie to watch this time of year because it shows NYC in all its holiday splendor.
Watching it again, got me to thinking about the word serendipity and what it means – the effect by which one accidentally stumbles upon something fortunate, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated. I love what it means almost as much as I love the way it sounds. Serendipity. Say it and tell me you aren’t smiling. Serendipity.
When I got pregnant with Jacob I was overcome with emotion – excitement, fear, wonder, and even sadness because my father would never know him. But I wanted this baby so badly that even the negative emotions couldn’t ruin it for me. I wanted my own perfect little bundle of chubbiness to love.
And while I got exactly what I asked for, I also got something I didn’t ask for – a special needs child. For two years I carried on unaware that what the future held for me was more fear, and more uncertainty than I could have imagined.
I knew Jacob was different from the beginning, but I didn’t realize the extent of his differences until around age 3 or 4. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mad or disappointed when the truth hit me. My “perfect” child was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as anxiety disorder by the time he was 8.
I spent years trying to “fix” him but as serendipity would have it I have realized that while I was searching for the perfect child, I found something far more rewarding. I found a purpose. In the midst of the challenges that Jacob’s TS and OCD have presented I discovered that I may not have a perfect child but I was given a perfect opportunity to make a difference, not just in my life or my family’s life, but in the lives of complete strangers.
I have had many mother’s pick up the phone and call me when they see my number displayed on one of the Tourettes Awareness videos that Jacob and I have done. And in talking with these women it has helped me heal.
Yesterday I was eating lunch when the phone rang. I looked down at the number and decided not to answer it because I didn’t recognize the caller. After a few rings I reached down to turn the ringer off and picked it up instead. On the other end I heard a quiet voice say, “I was trying to reach the support group.” She was calling from Montana – a long, long way from Georgia, but we talked for a long while and cried a bit too.
We talked again today and she told me that connecting with another mother who understands what she’s going through has helped her feel a bit better. And to think I almost didn’t answer the phone. I feel better when I share my story because in the beginning of my own journey I didn’t have a “been there done that” person.
Serendipity. Fate. A God-send. Miracle. Call it what you will, I don’t believe in coincidence or chance. I believe that things happen for a reason.
How has serendipity played a part in your own life? Look a little closer, you might be surprised.