I remember when I took the parenting course in grade 11, I imagined how my kids would turn out. I dreamed of having a boy and a girl, and thought about how I would be dealing with teen stuff when they would hit my age at the time. I also imagined the girl becoming a teacher and the boy becoming a rock star and would own his own company. Heck I even imagined them finding mates of their own, getting married and having kids of their own. Boy it was nice to fantasize, that is for sure. However, what 16 year old girl doesn’t dream? And I am glad to have been very blissfully unaware of what the future had really held for me.
The funny thing is, I actually did have a girl and a boy like I imagined during grade 11 parenting class. That part did go as planned. However, one thing that would have never entered my mind was that one of the children would have had a disability like my son. And quite frankly, that is not something that I would have ever even wanted to imagine. Let’s be realistic. This is not something that any parent would want to ever face. And once it does happen, the reality of it can be extremely shattering. That is definitely one example of no matter how much you dream or even plan while taking action- a wrench could be thrown at you at anytime. Things rarely go as planned.
At the time, I dreamed about my daughter being a teacher, which may or may not happen. However, will my son actually be a rock star and a business owner? I would say very likely not. Sure, even though he has autism you still cannot raise the bar too low- however, I acknowledge his limitations. I have to be prepared that his career may not go beyond him being a stock boy at a supermarket, or washing tables at a restaurant, or he may not be employable at all. Not that there is anything wrong with having a job as a stock boy or a table washer. Times are tough and some people without disabilities are lucky to be employed at all based on the economy. However, this is not something I would have looked highly upon at age 16 when I took that parenting class.
However, because life can be funny this way. You can make plans for a life that is perfect for you, but then when a “complication” comes up and that life you had wanted to live doesn’t manifest- it can be very disappointing. The best thing to when something in life does not go completely as planned is to not block out the feelings that you will feel such as disappointment, sadness, and even grief. However, it is important to never stay in those states because that will strip you from finding joy in anything. At some point, you will have to learn to embrace the life that you are living that is less than ideal. The best way to go about doing that is to find resources that can provide what you need. Google is a blessing when it comes to that. If you have a child with a disability, always reach out to your community, and find out what is offered. Go online, there are great communities. You can make some strong connections. There are solution out there, and it just takes a lot of searching, persistence and asking around.
The best advice I can also give is while it is important to strive for the outcomes you want, to never get too attached to them either. Be open to anything happening in life, because life will not always go as planned. If something doesn’t work out in your favour, find out what you can do to work with what you have.