Thursday, May 29, 2008


As I've aged and experienced some major unexpected events in my life, I've adjusted my expectations to the point that my children see me as somewhat of a cynic. I've lost the feeling that I remember of lying awake on Christmas Eve wondering what to expect, of hoping that this birthday or anniversary will be the best one ever, of praying for a pony until I actually got one. I remember imagining my perfect children, certain that I'd be the best mother ever. I probably wasn't.

I don't see it so much as cynacism but as realism. I've discovered lately that even if I think I've followed an old familiar recipe exactly, it might not turn out exactly the same as before. Maybe the phone rang and I added the salt twice, or maybe I just let my thoughts wander and left something out. Whatever happened, it happened. I guess that's one reason I hesitated to try new things. What if I'm disappointed. What if I really can't do it.

I have a few friends with children with disabilities who were not diagnosed until they were toddlers. Our friend Steffen appeared to be a perfectly ordinary kid until he had some sort of psychotic break when he was in his late teens. The football hero that was exactly Walker's age was killed in a car crash when he was in college. We just never know.

The one thing in my life I'm absolutely sure I'm not disappointed in is Walker. Frankly, my expectations for him were probably too low. The books I read when he was born were not encouraging. The Early Intervention Specialists that took us under their wings kept emphasizing that there was no outcome guaranteed. We were part of an experiment to see whether we might make a difference. And what a difference it turned out to be.

I saw many of those parents of Walker's Early Intervention Class at the Special Olympics Prom last week. Most of their kids are productive citizens. We are all proud of them for different things, but we are all proud. I never expected that.

I hope I'll curb my fears enough to know that life will give me better things than I ever expected, and that somehow I'll make it through the bad ones. I'm eternally grateful for the surprise of finding the joy in having Walker.


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