Monday, October 28, 2013

Great Expectations: Down Syndrome Edition

Blake with his sister Kaleigh

The times in my life I have had the greatest expectations for a person, and event or anticipated an outcome of a situation I have found myself the most disappointed. I have done it over and over again too, somehow expecting a different result. Wait, that's the definition of insanity, isn't it? The most 'insane' concept to me is expectations but I continue to get sucked into this vortex.

Life is a journey of work. Work from home, workout, go to work, work on your craft, work on yourself. Removing expectations from people is something about myself I am currently working on. It is a tough one as you have to retrain yourself in a sense. My son Blake has Down Syndrome (In case you missed the other dozens of posts about it). His presence in my life has been a crash course on a daily basis about removing expectations and replacing it with acceptance.
Let's think specifically about the expectations we have projected onto our children. We expect them to be the top of their class, their first words to come early, to be the smartest, fastest, happiest children. We can't help but compare them to others. Don't bother lying to yourself we ALL do and have done it. I am presented weekly with charts, statistics and developmental averages for which Blake is to be measured against. How can I not have expectations?  It seems only natural right? YES, if I want to be let down and set myself up for disappointment. I work on releasing my expectations of him so I can let him go at his own pace and do what he wants, when he wants from a developmental perspective. This notion of 'letting go' and letting him be who he is on his own schedule has been a tough one for me. 
Some of us judge our parenting skills on the development of skills in our children and how fast they reach these milestones which is the ultimate fallacy. Early intervention and extra practice will enhance a skill but honestly each individual child, when THEY are ready will complete a task, master a skill or say a new word. I used to judge myself  because my children's progress seemed to be the only measure of all the hard work, time, effort and care I poured into them each and every day. I don't do this anymore. Instead I honestly ask myself if I gave my best at the end of each day and move on.
How does my tale apply to every one's life? You don't have to have a child with Down Syndrome or any children for this to resonate in your life. Removing your expectations from others will help you minimize stress, allow you to be in the moment and actually ENJOY the event or time you are spending with someone. In my case, I enjoy my son's milestone(s) and his progress, no matter what the pace. I cannot project my schedule of how I want or wish things to be, but remove these expectations and learn to accept the way things are. The ultimate parental freedom.

Blake's extra chromosome has forced me to slow down my life and look at the world with new eyes. The only great expectations I have are on myself, to enjoy each and every moment.

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