There is an underlying fear that’s involved when you find out your child is “different.”
You worry about the potential medical problems. You fuss over making sure you do everything “correctly.” You read, and read, and read.
I know that I always worried, in the beginning, that we were doing “enough,” or making sure that we weren’t missing something. Looking back, I think we (okay, I- I’m the resident worrier in the family…) did a lot more worrying than the situation warranted. I learned about more topics, in more depth, than I’ll ever need.
But of everything that took up my brain power in those early days, the biggest waste of time was worrying about Piper as an adult. That’s right- she weighed a whopping five ounces when she was diagnosed, and I was worried about what life would be like in 30 or 40 years. I’m sure I’m not the only one that jumped a few decades at that initial diagnosis. I think it’s our brain’s way of trying to take something in that you have no idea how to even begin to comprehend. The details are too overwhelming, so we try to generalize, which just leads to thinking about the “end result” instead of what happens up until then.
And while, logically, I know why it happens, it seems so bizarre that we, as humans, who are smart enough to know better, are labeling, assuming, and determining the potential for someone long before we even know who they are, what they’ll like, or what they’re capable of.
Parents of typical kids look to the future and hope that they’re kids will be “good.” Maybe that they’ll be smart, a computer nerd (ahem- Luke, lol), a football player… But there’s no real stress behind it. Sure, when I look at Addy, I like to think that she’ll like the same things as Luke and I (math, science, and computers- surely it’s in the genes, right???), and sure, I like to think that she’ll go to college, get married, and have babies. But I have never once wondered if she’ll grow up in special education, if she’ll live with us as an adult, or if she’ll be accepted by her peers.
Someone asked me what my biggest fear is for Piper’s future. If you had asked me two years ago, it would have been all that. Ultimately, really, I think it would have been the fear of the unknown. Wondering what we were going to be facing, wondering “how severely” she’d be affected. Wondering what “our” (meaning Luke and my) life would turn out to be like.
But now? Now none of that is a fear. I’ve learned that Piper’s going to have talents. She’s going to have things that she likes to do. And I’ve learned that Piper is smart, and that her diagnosis does not define what she’s capable of accomplishing. And just like a typical kid, we have no idea what she’ll want to do when she’s older. And, boy, is that awesome!
I used to have fears. Now I have hopes. I hope that she’ll be “good.” Maybe that she’ll be smart, a computer nerd, or athletic. I hope that she likes the same things Luke and I do. I like to think that she’ll go to college, get married, and have babies.