Saturday, January 17, 2009

Check Your Ego at the Door

I've always been a high achiever, whether it be in academics, athletics, or my profession (I think it comes with being a people pleaser). I expect excellence of myself and of those around me and am disappointed when one or the other fails. So, tell me, how does a high achiever expect excellence of a child with special needs?

One of the greatest lessons I've learned from Bear thus far is that having a child with special needs is the ultimate ego check. All those things that we as parents hope for (I hope my child gets my brains, his daddy's brawn, my sense of humor, etc.) suddenly evaporate. Instead of searching for the ways my child is like me, I find myself searching for signs of development. Will he smile soon? Is his muscle tone developing? Can he hold up his head and look to both sides? And I know I'll continue to look for those things as the years progress. When will he walk? How long will he sign before he can speak? Will he potty train before starting school?

Ultimately, having a child with special needs is the greatest lesson in humility. We all pray for it--God make me a more humble person--but aren't truly prepared for the way he answers that prayer. Who would pray, "God, please give me a child with speical needs so that I may become more like you?" Our children typically serve as such a source of pride, and not to say that I'm not one proud mama because I am, but I've already experienced discrimation against him because of his DS and he's only 2 months old. Talk about being humbled. I can only imagine the ways he will be discrimated against all of his life, but learning how to handle that with grace and dignity and strength instead of indignation and anger will mold me and teach me humility beyond what I could have ever learned on my own.