A few months back, a dear friend of mine found out the child in her belly was a girl. They were thrilled give their little boy a little sister. With this joyous news also came heartache. They were told that their precious little girl had Down syndrome. I tried my best to be there for her in every way possible. Brought her to my mom’s school for special needs children to help her see all the possibilities, offered a listening ear, and bought her the book, Bloom. I was hoping that it would help to hear someone else’s story.
Bloom is an inspiring and heartfelt memoir that interweaves lyrical prose and stunning photography as Kelle Hampton recounts the unforgettable story of the first year in the life of her daughter Nella, who has Down syndrome. I also decided to read it. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for children with special needs. I was looking forward to what I thought would be a relaxing read that would give me insight into helping my friend.
What I didn’t know is that the words would reach out of the pages and touch my life.
You see, it’s so much more than just a story about a family with down syndrome. Ultimately, it’s about perspective and finding beauty in the unexpected.
And that really hit home to me. I’ve been through so much in the past year. Life threw some very unexpected things my way. I never grew up dreaming about being a divorced at 25, single mom. At first it was really hard to accept something so different from my perception of a picture perfect family. At first, I would agree when people would tell me, “Things will get better!” or “It can only go up from here.” And then not so patiently yearn for that time when things would be better.
But I learned a valuable lesson. I really feel like God spoke words directly into my thoughts. He said, “Look at all I have blessed you with, it is picture perfect.”
I learned a whole new perspective. There is beauty in the unexpected. It’s a journey and transformation I began the beginning of this year. Happiness is something you create for yourself. It isn’t achieved when you make it your 20 year anniversary, it isn’t found when you have 2 kids and a house with a white picket fence (although both of those things are great!). Happiness is found when you choose to live it, when you make a choice to define your own happiness.