Somewhere between thriving and surviving, lies this journey of life.
Life is a subtle blend of John Locke’s "blank slate", and a combination of the nurturance we receive and the choices we have made.
My husband and I have made choices for ourselves and our family, but at times, life has made some for us.
We currently aim to live our lives in the extraordinary realm.
Through the presence of my 15-year-old’s EXTRA chromosome.
Through our 3-yr-old’s EXTRA personality.
Through my husband’s EXTRA-kind heart.
It’s my belief that our EXTRA differences have led to our EXTRA happiness, and that the presence of that little bit of “extra” has given us extreme joy. I know lots of families like us too.
But imperfections bring about originality and rarity. They make life extraordinary.
Here are 7 signs that your family just might be extraordinary too.
1. The little things in life bring immense satisfaction.
Several months ago, my 15-year-old daughter (Tayler) who has a dual diagnosis of Down Syndrome & Autism, said her 1st full sentence. Since then, she has spoken even more words.
15 years of unrecognizable sounds and scattered words, and suddenly she belted out her 1st beautiful sentence.
My 3-yr-old (Ella) just named the places on her body that contains germs.
My husband (Lewis) folded 3 loads of laundry, did the dishes, and organized our monthly budget.
Whether it’s major milestones like Tayler's, or your toddler learning that it’s not okay to stick toys up her nose, your family might be extraordinary if you have learned to adore each one of the small victories in life.
2. Imperfection no longer bothers you.
The dust on the baseboards.
The tiny spots of liquid on the kitchen floor.
The goldfish and popcorn stuck underneath the sofa.
Last week’s applesauce on the back of the chair.
I have acknowledged that my house is not a shrine of cleanliness. My 3-year-old currently has tornadic behaviors and can destroy a clean room in under 2 seconds.
I'm not bothered though because we choose to spend time making memories with our children, rather than obsessing over cleanliness.
If you have learned to embrace the never-ending stream of random legos on the floor and bits of food under your furniture, then your family might be extraordinary too.
3. Loving those that are different comes naturally.
Yesterday Ella (my 3-year-old) asked, “Why does Sissy (Tayler-15-yrs-old) rock so much?”
My response was “Her body tells her to rock”.
Ella replied “Oh”.
And the conversation ended.
Ella loves her sister fiercely, and that appears to be a general trend around our house. We are a blended family, as I met my husband when Tayler was 11, and he has loved Tayler from the moment they met. Ella has that same instant yet deeply powerful love for Tayler. Ella gives her sister tons of hugs, and always show a deep concern for her.
We teach Ella that during her lifetime, she will meet many people that are not like her, but her love should be no less.
Your family may be extraordinary, if you choose to extend extraordinary love unconditionally.
4. You choose not to compare your children to other children, nor with each other.
Raising both a “typical” child and a “non-typical” child, I’ve learned not to compare them to each other, nor to other children.
They are uniquely and wonderfully made.
Both girls have come with their own set of challenges, but they each have been a blessing to me and my husband. And even the challenges bring growth and insight we may have otherwise never known.
They will each learn and mature in their own time.
They will each be the person God created them to be.
You might be part an extraordinary family if your children love who they are, and know you do too.
5. You embrace life’s complexities.
One of the best decisions my husband and I made before getting married was to develop and understand our goals and responsibilities in life.
My husband Lewis knew that there was a possibility that we could be “forever” parents, as our oldest may never be able to live on her own.
He knew about the potential complications that could result from having another child at 34.
Yet it was our decision to love and grow our family.
We love each other, and battle the hard times together.
You might be an extraordinary family if you are determined to fight together, forever.
6. You do a lot of embracing.
Never short of hugs, my 15-year-old shares at least 10 hugs and kisses a day, BEFORE we leave the house.
My 3-year-old has inherited this same trait.
Hugs cure many ailments, and kisses naturally heal. They both serve as reminders of the love we have for each other.
Your family might be extraordinary if you love showing extra affection.
7. You laugh (A LOT)
I’m not sure who is sillier- my daughters or me & my husband.
Seriousness is overrated. Laughter creates memories... sustainable memories to recall during those “not-so-happy” times in life.
If you laugh so much, that it is contagious, your family might be extraordinary too.
It’s true that love makes a family, and love makes life worth living. Though we aren’t perfect, we would't trade our "flaws" for anything ordinary. In the midst of life's challenges, we will keep our goals before our eyes and joyfully put one foot in front of the other until we meet them.
And we will always live life with just a bit of "extra".