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    Posted July 24, 2014 by
    Cambria, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Raising a special needs child

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    Great Expectations


    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. His presence in my life has been a crash course on a daily basis about removing expectations and replacing it with acceptance and appreciation.


    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 as 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 I can only remove these expectations and learn to accept the way things are. The ultimate parental freedom.


    I took a huge step forward this summer when we took a self imposed "Therapy Break" so my son could just be a kid and I could just be a mom. No expectations, therapies, check lists, or reports. Just fun, you know the stuff life is full of (or should be) for any child regardless of abilities?


    I wanted to spend time with my son with no expectation of clinical progress. Every thing we have done this summer has been stimulating, active, and educational without all of the clinical expectations or judgments attached. Our only expectation was experience and in it we found FUN.


    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 chosen to impose upon myself are those of joy and living in the moment. I am a work in progress.

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