This time last year was the height of our sorrow. It was a few days before Thanksgiving when Andy called me and said, “I have bad news.” He told me we were moving to Tucson, Arizona. With our unborn son diagnosed with Down syndrome just weeks before, we were hoping the Air Force would move us closer to family in the Southeast. At the time, it was the only thing making our new lives seem bearable.
How were we supposed to be new special needs parents without anyone to lean on? Why would God allow this? Is there a plan here?
When you are at a crossroads, it’s impossible to see the destination that lies ahead.
One of the things that bothered me the most about the diagnosis phase was the nagging question: Why were we sent to Alamogordo, New Mexico? If God knew our child had Down syndrome, why would He send us to a place that was dangerous for him, a place we would ultimately have to leave three months later?
Did He send us there? Or did we put our fate in the Air Force’s hands when we signed on the dotted line?
I don’t know the answer to these questions. I have theories. But I don’t know.
Here’s what I do know one year later. I know that if we had been just hours away from our parents, we would not have become as resilient as we are today. I know that if we were within driving distance of our families, we would not have gained our new family here in Tucson. I know that Andy would not have had the same opportunities to succeed at a larger base as he has in Tucson—the awards and recommendations ultimately getting him into his dream orthodontic residency.
When life doesn’t go the way we plan it, we have a choice. We can live in misery over the dream that will never become reality or we can embrace the new story unfolding before us.
I didn’t think I could handle Tucson. More years in the desert. More years with an entire country in between us and family. But I love it here. I love the mountains. I love the weather. I love our friends. But more than these, I love what Tucson represents for us: our new beginning.
Tucson is where we became special needs parents, heart warrior parents and parents of a spunky two-year-old. Tucson is where our hearts have been broken and put back together again. Tucson is where we realized that life isn’t about being handed a winning set of cards, but it’s finding out how to make the most with the ones you’ve been dealt.
It’s not about being comfortable; it’s about being impactful.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Ephesians 4:1, NIV