Monday, February 3, 2014

 The day I bought a little red see-and-say for my eleven year old

When I became a parent eleven years ago I had so much to learn about expectations.

I still have so much to learn about expectations.  *grin*

My little man K has been , and continues to be, a most wonderful teacher in this subject. If anything will teach you about unrealistic expectations, having a child with special needs will.

It will teach you about a crazy human "need" to label, and then it will tear that down.
It will teach you about a crazy human "need" to fix that which was never meant to be ours to "fix", and then it will show you that we couldn't do it anyway.
It will teach you what it means to truly love - without condition or (here's that word again) expectation.

And it will tear apart a vast amount of parenting "how to's".

This is uncharted territory, and it teaches a whole lot of reliance on God.

God created our little man K, and He is daily doing a work in his life. Through that, He is doing major renovating in My heart and Dave's heart.

K turned 11 on January second. A few weeks before his birthday we began giving some thought to this birthday, and what we might do for him.

We are tired of Little Einstein's. We are ready to push him onto big boys stuff. ELEVEN is eleven, after all. Big. I may have even started thinking of other eleven year olds I know, and forming some kind of wonderful eleven year old party/gift/celebratory plans.

And he still wanted Little Einsteins,
and he's still K,
and numbers have never defined who he is, what he will be interested in, or what he will do.

I know this. I have known this ever since K was a little baby. But would you believe I still fall into the trap of listening to voices around me as well as placing my own expectations above truth.   *sigh*

On the morning of his eleventh birthday I spent some sweet time in prayer. Prayer for my boy and about my boy. I thanked God for this life entrusted to us. I thanked God for all of the progress we have seen with him in the last 11 years. It's wow. And it's where my focus needs to constantly be redirected to.

And then I implored my Heavenly Father to work in my heart for this day. That He would remove my expectations of an "eleven year old birthday celebration" to simply a celebration of K's life. Celebrating him and everything he is to us. Just another year with him! That's huge.

God spoke to my heart that morning and he softened my heart. He did his work, but he impressed upon me that I still had a choice. I had work to do too. It goes two ways. God can soften us and move us and work in us, but we still need to choose to respond.

There was choosing that day, several times. I even said it out loud before the boys woke up, "No expectations, this day is about K."

We had decided that after school I would take K shopping for his birthday, while Dave took the other boys sledding. After that we planned to all meet up at home with grandma and grandpa. Taking K shopping was part of the active plan to give him freedom to be who he is - letting him choose. Some years we have "decided" what he would be interested in, and gifted him accordingly. I'm sure you can imagine, especially if you know K, how well that has gone over…" ;)

This is me instagraming the moment. ;) We drove to the toy store, and I was about to get him out of the van. I decided I needed pictorial evidence of what this day meant to both of us. -Beyond just recognizing a birthday, to recognizing a slow lesson learned….. on lowering expectation.

I ignored the clock. I ignored the voices in my head. I ignored society. I ignored "good advice" from well meaning experts.

And I went shopping at a toy store with my son. 

So many things added to the hilarity of what went down in that store. Oh my goodness, so much I could write.

Let me tell you what went down in my heart though. I saw this boy for who he is, and my love grew. I saw the wrong of how often I project my wants/needs/desires on him. I laughed for real, and it felt good. I looked in his eyes and saw a world of unnoticed intelligence.

We left the store with a $14 see-and-say, a $1 "squishy", and .60 Tic Tacs.
And one giddy K. He's not great at decision making (um… wonder where he gets that from, wondered the girl who breaks out in a cold sweat at the Starbucks counter…), but after alot of wandering aisles, exploring "try me" buttons, and pulling things close to examine them, he was ever so excited to discover this red see-and-say that was reminiscent of one he used to play with in the church nursery.

He played with that thing for hours. I never would have picked it for him. Ever. And it was his day. It was the day we celebrated his birth and his life and everything miraculous and amazing that he represents to us. It was perfect.

I had the best time with my boy. I learned a very important lesson about dropping expectations and putting on blinders to everything around me except the gift right in front of me.

Our favorite animal on the see-and-say is the barn owl, and the hilarious noise it makes is still making us giggle, one month later.

We continue working at enlarging his world, pointing him towards the things that will will aid him in independence, cheering him on towards the next milestones.

But we are also determined to fully embrace him. 

Oh how we love this boy.


Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

Love this, Wendi. "It goes two ways. God can soften us and move us and work in us, but we still need to choose to respond."

True growth and change comes in the response. Thank you for allowing us in to see a glimpse of your journey. Christ shines so brightly in it!

Hayley said...

Ahhh Wendi I love your heart! Expectations affect so much of our frustration with God; people; ministry. I love your words here - celebrating what God has already done.

Kimberly (Anthony's Mom) said...

It's so hard to know when to push, and when to let go of something. Anthony tends to have an obsessive personality. Like right now if he had his way, the only thing he would do ALL DAY is play on the ipad and the Wii U. I'm glad he has something he likes doing, but I sometimes need to push him to find other things to enjoy. We got him doing BMX bike riding a few months ago and he is enjoying it.

I still can't believe K is 11. =-)