Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Reasons Not to Hope

"There he goes! He did it again! He's lifting his head off the floor!"

They were all exclaiming to each other with big grins, cheering and applauding their little boy with encouragement to do it again. 

They couldn't believe it. He could finally lift his head. They'd been waiting for this event for more than 3 1/2 years. They started making phone calls to let everyone know. Who knows what he might do next? 

She smiled to herself as she rolled over under the warm weight of the blankets until her eyes flickered open.

Disappointment set in again. It was just a dream. Another damn dream. She used to view these dreams as some kind of prophecy that one day her son would miraculously just lift his head off the floor, roll over on his knees, begin to crawl, pull to stand up, take steps to walk, or begin to talk using words she could understand. The dreams were so real. And friends, family, and even strangers had had them too. She used to feel hope whenever she would have one or hear of one.

But why? What was she really hoping for? A milestone? For what?

Unless a person hits most, if not all milestones, they will probably never function with complete independence. And even with all the faith she could muster, she knew going into the delivery room that his odds of hitting even some milestones where pretty slim, that he would be dependent on someone for his entire life, however short or long that would be.

Even so, she now spends hours taking him to therapies that are supposed to help him hit these milestones. But what's one milestone going to do for him in the midst of the many he won't hit? Will he suddenly be happier or more content? 

He's happy and content now. 

In fact, based on his constant coos and chirps, giggles and smiles, she doesn't know of a more happy and content person. The only time he gets upset is when one of his medical conditions flare up, and those have nothing to do with reaching or not reaching milestones. As soon as the medical issue is resolved, he is back to being his happy little self.

She almost feels like he didn't get touched by the original sin of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He seems unaware of the expectations and desires for success and independence that the rest of us think we want and struggle to attain. He seems content to be cared for, happy to be entertained or to entertain himself. And while he may appreciate toys or videos, he does not demand them. He seems content to be quiet and still with his own thoughts, drifting in and out of day dreamy naps, and just as content to be tickled, moved around, and spoken to almost as if he lives in his own little Garden of Eden. His soul seems at peace.

So whats wrong with that? What is she hoping for? And if she is hoping for something, does that not imply that she is discontent with the way things are right now? And why should she be discontent if her son is not? Isn't she just projecting her own fears of wondering how she is going to care for him if he does not hit milestones and is completely dependent forever, or of what others will think if she does not appear to be doing everything in her strength to help him?

He's just so beautiful. And happy. And loved. What more could she really hope for?


  1. Amen, Rachel! And he is so beautiful, and happy and loved. And really, what more could we hope for any of our children. Given his earliest prognosis, isn't being happy and loved and beautiful quite remarkable? This reminds me of our "conversation" last week, and it is a good reminder to just let my children be happy and be loved, which they are. Maybe it's our "bigger, better" society that adds to our uneasiness. If I get a bigger house, I'll be happier. If I get a better purse, coat, car, job, etc, I'll be happier. Because I know I do this with my children... kick more goals, get a better grade, be the nicest, the smartest, the prettiest, the standout. It's time I just appreciated the milestones they have hit and just let them be happy and be loved. Once again, Rachel, thank you for putting your words down. You always give me perspective. One of the many reasons I love you. (and miss you! ;-) ) (Okay.... I'll admit it... getting a better car DID make me happier!! sorry, I'm shallow! But it's also because I don't have to call for a ride or a tow truck 1-2 times a week! )

    1. I was thinking the same thing about our conversation last week while I wrote this. I do need to apply the same thinking to my big boys too and just let them "be" happy, be loved...however that ends up looking :) There's definitely a balance to be achieved between striving for success vs striving for contentment.

    2. And I'm thinking that achieving contentment IS success!!! Here's to contentment, being loved and being happy.... oh... and being beautiful!

  2. You are also and amazing creature Ms. Rachel - don't you forget it.