I’m a planner. I like organization. I love plastic tubs with labels, checklists, and things done in advance. I don’t like surprises, uncertainty, or spontaneity and I absolutely hate the phrase “one day at a time.” As long as I get my way, I’m pretty easy-going and not easily fazed — if I don’t get my way I have a tendency to worry.
To say I worry a lot these days would be an understatement. On good days I worry, on bad I know fear. The difference between a good day and a bad is primarily determined by how tired I am, whether I have the energy to keep myself in this day and no other.
Last night I was reading about a family who had a daughter born with severe physical disabilities. The father wrote:
“…we were stuck…in despair…in fear….Most importantly, stuck in an unknown territory where our attitudes and beliefs hadn’t adapted to the landscape. We finally reached a point where the pain became unbearable. We were left with no choice but to look within ourselves to change the beliefs and expectations that trapped us in fear and anxiety….We realized that we could become more connected to and effective with Nikki if we were able to replace our fear and anxiety with happiness and peace of mind by letting go of any expectations we had for her.”
It’s awfully hard not to have expectations for your kids, that’s part of the fun. While pregnant, you’re “expecting” — true in more ways than one. I can see the logic in letting go of expectations, and I’m working on that with Grace. She’s an active but stubborn two-year old. On our way to her first movie yesterday I gave myself the pep talk, “it’s her first movie, she might not like it, you may not see the whole film, you may not see any of it and be out ten bucks.” When the novelty of Kung Fu Panda wore off forty minutes into the film and she asked to go home, we left, went and had a nice lunch together and counted the day a great success.
But with a child diagnosed as Hope has been, letting go feels a lot more like giving up, or giving in. And what about my expectations for myself? I guess those two are just going to have to take a little longer.