In a fast-paced and revealing speech Friday to the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List, Sarah Palin mixed campaign rhetoric with a monologue on what it was like to learn that her son Trig would have Down syndrome, and how her daughter Bristol grappled with her unplanned pregnancy.

“I never ordered up, planned on, being the mother of a son with special needs,” said Palin. “I thought, God would never give me something I couldn’t handle.”

Trig, said Palin, was “the best thing that ever happened” to her and her family. She recalled looking into her newborn son’s eyes and imagining what he thought: “See, God knows what he’s doing! He gave me to you, and He gave you to me! See, it’s going to be good.”

She described his sense of wonder, and told activists that observers “can already see sort of this perspective in this child that I think the rest of us are supposed to emulate.” But she stressed, again, the lesson she’d learned with those first thoughts upon hearing that her son would be developmentally disabled.