Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Don't Lose the Expectation Speculation Game

LOL. Wylie and his dad are being “independent.” They have sorta both abandoned me and left me to watch this Baby Bumblebee video by myself. Wylie is right on time developmentally for um brattiness… The octave he hits when he squeals “Noooo!” to every single request and suggestion is grating on my nerves. You are kinda lucky you’re cute, Buddy…

But right now, he is being fairly good, mostly because his dad is chilling out with him watching Spongebob instead of making any demands on him. Haha. Eep. Spoke too soon. I hear “Don’t hit,” followed by whining, followed by “Wanna say hi to mommy?!” aaaand the famous “Nooooo!” Thanks a lot, Son. I feel the love. Haha.

I sort of spaced and did not realize today was the first day of school for me. Haha! Pretty typical of me. For me? Not sure. And I used to be a writer. Couldn’t have got my butt back to school fast enough, apparently. Yeah, I was a college dropout, and a brat for the first half of my 20s. Wylie really mellowed me out. I became a mommy and suddenly I wanted to be good enough for him.

My parents are proud that I have decided to go back and earn my degree, but realistically, growing up, it was something they would have never questioned. Of course I would go to college after high school. Of course I would quickly earn my degree in a timely manner. Of course I would get a great job and buy a great house and start my own family in a very typical fashion. Buhahahahaha. NOT.

It’s very interesting to think about, because a common theme among parents of children with autism is the tragedy of not having our expectations met. We all have dreams. A lot of us feel like our dreams are shattered when we first hear the diagnosis. Visions of passing a football between father and son turn hazy. Maybe our handsome little lady killer won’t be dating much in high school. If he even gets to go to a regular high school. Milestones and rites of passages we never questioned before suddenly seem so impossible.

But how reasonable is it to make assumptions about the child we get to raise, anyway? How fair is that? I honestly think we spend a lot of time making ourselves sick over the “What might have beens” when we cannot even possibly KNOW what might have been. And more importantly, especially when we are looking at a younger child who is just coming into his or herself, are we really in a position to take guesses about what will NOT be?

These are all normal feelings, and they deserve to be acknowledged, and no one should invalidate them. I get a very emotional reaction when someone mentions the disappointment over dreams of the future for their children, because I’ve been there. But it is up to us as parents, for our sakes as well our children’s sakes, to gain a little perspective. We never get to know for sure what the future holds, and our children do not exist as extensions of ourselves, anyway. ALL of our children, typical or otherwise, are going to let us down from time to time, and are at times going to exceed our wildest expectations. Let us try to remind those who are new on their autism journey of this fact, and remember it for ourselves when we are down in the dumps.

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