Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Shattered Expectations

If Alyssa only knew, when I was pregnant I set these expectations to what motherhood would be for me.  In my mind, I had all these great ideas.  This was going to be perfect.  I had it all planned out.  We would start in play groups. Later, we were going to have sleepovers, birthday parties, after school sports and activities.  I would be soccer mom.  I would have the sticker on the back of my vehicle that reads “my student is on honor roll”.  This was all fantastic.  And, I didn’t stop there.  I went as far as dreaming about her fairytale wedding too.  I am not sure if all moms do this, but I did.  Now, I am sad I had those thoughts, maybe even ashamed.  I am sad I allowed myself to think perfect would be perfect.  What if Alyssa thought, those things are what I really wanted and that she somehow let me down?  What if this amazing young girl thought nobody believed she could learn because she's unable to give us the responses we are looking for?  What if she thought her Autism was too hard for her friends, family, educators and society to deal with?  What if she saw the “my child has Autism” sticker on the back of my car, replacing what would have been the honor roll one?

It all makes me sick.  Here I was, so determined, I never thought of the possibility of having a child with Autism.  I never thought I would be spending my days advocating for her education; and nights sleepless in worry.  I was selfish and a person who needed to gain some lessons in life.  What was really important?  Well, back then, let me just say, I didn’t even know what Autism was.  I don’t remember seeing it in the tabloids.  Nobody from my family or friend network ever talked about it or had children affected by it.  In fact, my friends and family mostly discussed the “really hard stuff’, like dealing with unruly teenagers, work issues, financial difficulty, car troubles, burnt toast, what to wear, etc.…  I am sorry, Autism didn’t cross my mind and I really didn’t know what it was. 

I used to set expectations and be devastated if what I expected didn’t happen.  This thinking never considered how others might be affected. It was selfish.  It was all about me and what I thought and wanted.  I believe Alyssa has saved me from me.  She is my world and she is in no way anything less than exactly what I want and need!!!  She brings more joy to my life, than I ever had before.  She gives me a reason to get out of bed each day.  She challenges me too!  And, love?  I didn’t even know what the word meant.  Alyssa has taught me so much. 

I would like to suggest, we shatter our expectations and aspire to something bigger, better, greater, filled with love, hope, faith, and integrity.  I would like to encourage the world to embrace what is different and find ways to allow there to be lessons from those differences.  I would like to encourage us all to let go of our expectations, allowing us to be more flexible.  If we aspire to great deeds, we will have a better chance of accomplishing them.  Aspiration is a strong desire to achieve something great.  At this point in my life, I aspire to be a better person and a better mom.

I have to tell you....  Today, Alyssa is skiing.  She is having so much fun.  She is excited to ski down, just so she can get back on the chair lift.  Her smiles says, "let's do it again and again".  How wonderful.  :)

Thank you for reading my blog and have a great day!!  Angie


  1. Thanks for that wonderful message Angie. I know with Mike and the girls I did the same thing. With Mike we knew there was a possibility that he would have Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy, but I just knew it wouldn't happen. I grew up with that disease and felt that I had suffered enough with that. Once I accepted that, we had Emily and Olivia and more challenges. It has been hard and some days aren't very fun, but I wouldn't trade it at all. It's made me who I am today and like you said it makes me a better person. I know they've been sent to our family, to everyone, to teach us how to be more loving and to be better. Thanks for your thoughts, it's reminded me to remember to be grateful for the challenges I have and not mourn the dreams that I had in my mind. Take care, you are an amazing Mom and advocate for her and an example to me.

  2. I think we all have those kind of expectations before we have kids. It's like the story about buying the plane ticket to Venice and landing in Amsterdam- the trip isn't what you expected- in fact it's quite different- but its a good trip none-the-less!

  3. You are the one that is truly amazing. I admire your strength and your positive attitude. You make me want to be a better person! Thank-you!

  4. I was so much more selfish when I was younger with blown-up expectations on everyone and everything, and then I became a mom, and now I've read this. We keep evolving each day, don't we! The thought of Alyssa skiing and smiling on the chair lift makes me smile through the eyes of the heart. I saw Alyssa and a friend walking down the hall yesterday at school, and she didn't seem different at all to me ( ;

  5. We can only imagine that our child's life will be the better of our expectations. I hope you forgave yourself for having some thoughts of starting somewhere before you actually started living with your child. We all say that we will have unconditional love for our children, even after we have them. But not all of us have been tested. You are the example and truth of what unconditional love and no limits to what we would do for our children is. We are living through you because we can only imagine what testing our "unconditional love" really means... Thank you for leading the way, Angie!!!! I will follow in your footsteps.