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Monday, May 23, 2011

Expectations

I have joined a new blogging group to educate and challenge me. Members have been issued a topic this week for our entries: expectations. Was this topic created for me or what?!

My blog discusses life along the road of parenting. What were my expectations?

Well, call me crazy, but I didn't expect there to be nineteen staff observing me the moment our older son entered the world. I didn't expect to be sitting on ice packs in mesh underwear while people parade in and out of the room either--nobody talks about that, by the way.

I did not expect my older son to take on the appearance of a child with Down's Syndrome, setting off concern from developmental specialists. I didn't expect my younger son to be born with a paralyzed arm due to a brachial plexus injury at birth. I didn't expect to be a mother to children with multiple special needs.

I expected, you see, to be your typical soccer mom, worrying about teething and swim team schedules and room parent activities. I did not expect this solitary life of therapies, doctor's appointments and sitting at home with my child because the outside world is just too noxious to handle on any given day.

Redefining one's expectations when there is no other option is a challenge. Sure, I have cried about it--a lot! But, in the end, crying does not change the circumstances. My true challenge has been to redefine my own expectations for my children's lives into something more realistic...and then to be okay with that new definition.

Perhaps you'll say this isn't realistic, but at forty, and under all the stress that comes along with having two children with special needs, I still have the expectation of attaining something close to supermodel status. I CAN do it...can't I?

Gosh, is my mind racing! Every day, I have the expectation of a clean house, salvation of my sanity, sex kitten hair, calm children, clean clothes, heck, a clean EVERYTHING all before bedtime so that I can spend at least one moment a day in peace, tranquility and quiet.

Now, is that so much to expect?

I agree. I'm insane. This topic is better than therapy! Maybe I can expect this blogging challenge to rid me of my anti-depressant! LOL! One can hope!

Excuse me for just a moment, "I EXPECTED YOU CHILDREN TO BE IN YOUR BEDS QUIETLY BY NOW, AND IF YOU ARE NOT BY THE COUNT OF THREE, I AM COMING UP THERE BREATHING FIRE!!! ONE...TWO..." Ah, that's better.

Ahem, where was I?

I believe that the bottom line for a parent of special needs is that we must have time in the beginning to grieve the loss of our expectations of life, love, family, and home. And, then, ever so slowly, we must rebuild those expectations again. If necessary, we review and revise along the way. For it is those unrealistic, ill-fitting expectations that will bring us down. It's like the square peg in the round hole. The size 12 body in the size 8 skinny jean.

Some things in life, we need to face with brutal honesty.

28 comments:

  1. That was a great read! Nice job.

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  2. LOVE THIS! It must take a lot of strength and patience to do what you do and I'm sure you are doing one heck of a job!

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  3. Blush. Thanks, guys! I just started this in March and really don't know what I am doing. Your words give me great confidence!

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  4. I loved this piece. I can't imagine having two special needs children, although I do have one. I've learned so much from her too. BUT as you say, you kinda-hafta (yes I know that's not a word...lol)rearrange your expectations once you come to terms with your child's disability.

    Great blog!! Cheers, Jenn.

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  5. Great blog! I can't imagine having two kids with special needs...although I do have one child with special needs and three more children on top of that! You're so right about expectations...you have to break them down and build them back up again and have goals that are more reasonable and attainable.

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  6. I think expectations are overrated.

    No, you're not insane, and I applaud you for being able to keep it that way as you raise two lovely special needs children. You have them for a reason.

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  7. Love your humour. Think every mum will understand the fire-breathing ;)

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  8. Beautiful and heart-rendering blog! Many blessings to you!

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  9. This is beautiful and I hope many parents with special kids will learn from your humor and honesty. Excellent post. Hearts in Fur Coats

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  10. I am sure you have a lot to offer moms and dads with kids who have special needs. I think you are right that we cannot project what the outcome will be to anything. See you around the GBE2 challenge.

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  11. I love what you said about letting go of old expectations and developing new ones. I think we all need to do that, over and over, in order to grow and adapt, so your lesson applies to each and every one of us. Nice post!

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  12. Wow... your choice of words drives home and portrays the emotions behind them. Excellent job.

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  13. A lovely blog that really paints a picture of your everyday life with your children. Well done!!

    Kathy
    http://www.thetruckerswife.com/

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  14. This is an amazing blog. You have touched my heart.
    Over the past 5 months, through personal experience with my son,I have developed a new found respect for parents of special needs children.
    God Bless you, your husband, and your children.

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  15. Obviously your kids have one remarkable blessing.......their Mom! Great write!

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  16. I am awed by your resilience. Raising children without special needs is hard enough. You express yourself so well, I am grateful for having had the experience of meeting you through this blog.

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  17. I am so humbled by all of you! Thank you so much!

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  18. What a fantastic post! Everyday must be a bit of a challenge for you. Your kids are lucky to have a mom like you, with a sense of humor. You may not be a super model, but you are a SUPER MOM!

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  19. Nothing like parenting teaches you to adjust expectations!

    I expected to have my first child and wear him/her in an attachment-parenting type pouch while I traveled around the world spontaneously throughout those early years. Then the ultrasound tech told me I was having twins and I realized I had to build a whole new set of expectations! Nearly four years in, I think we're doing pretty well, but expectations change constantly.

    Thanks so much for sharing your personal experiences and I look forward to reading more from you about your path of parenting and working through the world of taking care of children with special needs.

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  20. HOLY CRAP...soon as i hit your blog LOVED the mom cave writing..then the reality. You are God's special angel...yup you are !! Honor to meet you
    MUAH!!!!

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  21. Dear Dr. Honey Dew: do you think God's special angel drinks wine and has a potty mouth? Drat! I didn't think so. Much love, Spedmom.

    Giggle.

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  22. Resetting your expectations, as you've had to do, can't be easy and I applaud your courage, your honesty and your sense of humour. This was a very moving and well written blog.

    And no matter how unattractive you may feel at times, your inner glow will alway ensure that other people will always see your beauty

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  23. Wow! Respect from my side, you shared some amazing private thoughts with us, thank you!

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  24. Hi, Claudia: thank you. You know, it seems that once the world sees the heart-wrentching struggle of a parent trying to better future for her special needs child--and often failing along the way--little about her life is ever really "private" again. There are perhaps one or two things that I suppose I don't NEED to mention while blogging, but I know that they are things that would help other parents in my shoes to hear. What's one. Or two more things, right?

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  25. There were a lot of people in the room for my first labor/delivery because they had a bunch of interns and I was a 17 year old going into labor a month early. I think they thought it was going to be good experience. Anyway, it was weird hearing the dr. talk about me in 3rd person by the name of "Patient" while I was right there, and also ask them questions. That was 1992. I enjoyed the read!

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  26. My situation was somewhat similar. I gave birth in a teaching hospital around noon--the worst time for privacy! Our older son was a forceps delivery, so everyone piles in to see him yanked out. *cringe*

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  27. Passing the versatile blogger award from Pam to me to you :) Pop over to my blog to pick it up and pass it forward! http://mojowritin.blogspot.com/2011/05/passed-forward-from-pamela.html

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