Saturday, November 9, 2013
The Goal is Happy
"When I was 5 years old,
my mother always told me that happiness
was the key to life.
When I went to school,
they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I wrote down ‘happy’.
They told me I didn’t understand the assignment,
and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
I always said that when I had children that I wanted them to be happy. I didn't care if they were trash collectors as long as they at the end of the day they could honestly say they were happy. By no means does this mean I do not or will not encourage them to reach their full potential. I will not, however, force them to do things just because they look good to other people. Forcing kids to do something because you feel it makes you look like a good parent, to me, is kind of the opposite of a good parent. I'm not talking about making them eat vegetables or go to sleep early, the daily nitty gritty of parenting. I am not talking about making a commitment and then walking away when they change their mind. I'm referring to letting a child find out who they really are without undue pressure to be daddy's football player or mommy's ballerina. Sometimes, a child's interest is very different than a parent's dream of what their child would be like when they were born. And sometimes you have a child who is not a child you ever imagined when you decided to become a parent.
6 years ago today, Boy Wonder was diagnosed with severe autism. It was devastating and life changing. I felt then, and sometimes still do, feel ill equipped and vastly under qualified to parent a child with a disability. But BW has taught me so much. He turned the world right side up. He made me more patient (mostly), far far less judgemental and he showed me that proving people wrong is really really fun.
I may doubt my ability to make the right choices for him when he can't tell me what he wants or why he is upset but I do know for the most part that my boy is a happy kid. So while we may have a bunch of IEP goals unmet and life skills we have been working on for years at home, I do know that my biggest goal for my son is met daily, he is HAPPY and in the end that's all I ever really want for him and his sisters.