#2: Small Steps, Giant Leaps
We've been so fortunate that none of our doctors or therapists have ever tried to tell us that Collin would 'never' do something. I've heard so many horror stories of physicians telling parents that their child will never see, never speak, never walk. But partly because of their own compassion and integrity and partly because of the enigmatic nature of Collin's condition, Collin's medical and therapeutic providers have refrained from issuing restrictions on his future, allowing him to show us what he can do.
I'm a writer and a reader and I know how to pick up on connotation and subtext. No matter what people did or didn't say out loud, it was clear to me that, while they were willing to entertain remote possibilities (and hallelujah for that!), they found it most likely that Collin wouldn't do many of the things other people do.
And, honestly, we had come to the point where we accepted that possibility. We started thinking about what we would need in a house, in a vehicle, in equipment if Collin were to use a wheelchair or need to be transferred from one position to another for the rest of his life. It wasn't resignation and it wasn't settling. It was being okay with Collin exactly how he is - letting go of the desire for anything about him to be different. Which isn't the same as not hoping or working. It's just more of a living in the present, leaving the future happily (and rightfully) obscure. It left us free to enjoy Collin fully - who he is - rather than wringing our hands over what he might or might not do.
The bonus that comes with thinking that way is that you are rarely disappointed and often pleasantly surprised. When you don't expect to see your child's first steps, it is almost unbearably beautiful when you do.