Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Statistically Speaking

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, we're having our fifth child, and it is a boy. We're certainly excited about this surprising turn of events (this was not planned, and the little guy fought through a lot of barriers to get here!), but we're also a bit frightened. Scientists estimate that, in families with one autistic child, the risk of having a second child with the disorder is approximately five percent, or one in 20, which is greater than the risk for the general population. There's also a much greater chance of Autism in male children as opposed to female.

These kinds of statistics can make you crazy. The thought that something might be wrong with your kid is already the ambient noise in your mind, but any slight rise in the probabilities brings this background thought to the forefront. Five percent's not a lot, but it's enough to make you lose sleep. You lose sleep because you're not real sure you can handle another one. You're pretty sure you can't handle the one you already have.

Pretty amazing how a 5% chance there might be a problem virtually erases the 95% chance everything will be fine! If you told me I had a 95% chance of winning the lottery, I'd run - not walk - to the local Quickie-Mart to buy a ticket. Shoot, I bet I don't have a 95% chance of making it to work in one piece, but I still make the three right turns that get me there every morning (right out of my driveway, right on Northwood, right on Beaton).

Point is, you can't live life statistically. If you did, you'd probably never drive a car, get married or eat any of the various foods that will, statistically speaking, give you some terrible disease. The only statistic, in the end, that really matters is that God is 100% in control. Doesn't really make it easier to sleep at night, but it'll do for now. The longer I live the more I have to cling to this life-giving statistic. It helps me make it through about 85% of the time!

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