When Insecurity Sabotages Our Expectations

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OR:  MORON, THY NAME IS ‘ED’

We have a lot of expectations for our children.  I have marveled at the gains Mike has made over the last 3-4 years that included starting in 2 new schools, with a different teacher in each year.  His learning curve has really improved, really, without a regression, or a stumble.  I forgot that with all learning, especially those who learn in a particular manner: visual, motor, etc., there is often room for a slide back for even minor things.  It’s sort of like forgetting something miniscule in order to gain something greater; the trade-off for improvement, perhaps something I thought was fully ingrained, but really wasn’t.

Well that happened the other night.  I became overly upset (read: loud) over something commonplace; an ADL-related task.  In doing so I upset Mike, and his brothers too to some degree.   After a while, I realized why I was so upset.  It wasn’t because that task wasn’t done.  I was upset because I feared that the gains he made for the last few years may not have been really gained.  I feared that he would forget the simpler things.  As irrational as it sounds, I visualized his brain filling to capacity, but with every new understanding he gains now as a teen displaces something he learned as a toddler; akin to speaking in complex sentences but forgetting his ABC’s.  I was insecure about his ability to retain information; insecure about his potential in this world.

But I was wrong.  Mike didn’t forget how to do any of these things.  He didn’t displace any of his previous knowledge.  In fact he showed me empathy and understanding.  After I apologized for my ‘tantrum’ I explained to him these fears I had about him forgetting how to do things.  I don’t know if he fully understood my fears and anxieties, but I got a “don’t worry Dad”.  Thank goodness one of us remembered to be the grown-up.

I sat in his room with him for a few more minutes in silence as he started to go to sleep.  I thanked God for the wonderful family that I have been blessed with, and asked to learn everyday from this young man who reminds me about compassion and understanding.  About the need to reinforce ourselves while we make strides for the future.  We all need a reminder or a hand sometimes.  That night, Mike gave me both.  Thank you Mike.

By the way, after my mini-revelation, I tweeted this:

-Ed

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