I have learned over the years of dealing with The Oldest, with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, that I need to lower my expectations. While reading a couple blogs lately, I have seen a common thread of parents who are rightfully upset that the child continues to make poor choices. They are saddened by the behaviors. They are tired of continuing to explain cause and effect. They are frustrated by the child not being able to control the impulses. They feel as though they have the same conversation every day. In some cases, they feel they make progress, but they go right back to the unwanted behavior the next time they are presented with the same choice.
I get it. I live it. I have been there more times than I care to think about. I have prayed the same prayers to heal my son's head. I have said, "How many times have we talked about this?" approximately 5 million times. It took quite some times for me to simply let it go.
A few years ago I came to accept what I cannot change. I came to accept the fact that he is not going to change. The organic brain damaged he suffered before he even took his first breath in this world will not be changed. When we adopted him, we accepted him as he was.
While I accept him and accept the fact that things may never change that does not mean that I cannot whole heatedly celebrate the smallest victories. It does not mean I give up and don't try to teach. It does not mean that I don't hold out hope that things will get better. It does not mean that I will not fiercely advocate for my child. It simply means I will not mourn when changes do not happen.
This change in perception has helped me cope day to day with the struggles. It has given me the ability to embrace who he is not who I hope he can become. It has taken the weight off my shoulders that I felt that I needed to make him better, that I was responsible for change. It has allowed me to not only LOVE him, but to ACCEPT the child he is NOW.
Does this make living with him any easier? No. It does not make the struggles easier. It does not make me happier to tell him the same thing I just did 3 minutes prior. It certainly does not make me ecstatic to find the Oreos hidden under the couch pillow. But it does take the pressure off me to change him.
I accept who he is and revel in the small steps he makes toward progress. I just don't expect them.
Does that make me a bad mother?
I don't think so.