When She Grows Up

I often wonder what she’ll be like when she grows up. If I ever see an adult with mental retardation out in public, I find myself staring. Will she be like that? Will she be “worse” or “better”? Will she have a job? Friends? A boyfriend? Independence? It’s enough to drive a mother crazy.

Imagine my surprise when tuning in to Parenthood a couple of weeks ago and the episode was about this very subject. (Are you watching this show yet?) I really could have used an intervention while watching it because it was so authentic to what I feel. They were throwing a party for their son, Max, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. The entertainer also had Asperger’s but it took the parents a while to realize it. They almost couldn’t handle it. This guy was “weird” and quirky and didn’t act “normal”. It was a harsh realization for them. However, by the end of the episode, they realized that the entertainer was really happy. He had a job, he lived on his own and was happy. They realized that’s all that matters.

That show hits home for me every week in some way. But this episode really hit hard. I often wonder what the boys will be like too when they grow up, but with Olivia, it’s just different. I try not to think about it but sometimes it just can’t be avoided.

I just focus on the now as much as I can. That’s all you can do sometimes, right?

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12 responses to “When She Grows Up

  1. I try not to think about the future too much either. All I know is that I want Gracie to be happy and have a full life. I don’t want her to be at home with just me and her dad with nothing to do. I want her to keep busy, have friends, and have some independence. Just how we will do this I have no idea…

  2. This is a very surreal thought and I think about it with my own kids, scary! I love going on this journey with you and feeling what you feel. It also gives me a better perspective of how to handle my parents 🙂 Thanks for your honest sharing!

  3. You know I love this show and I thought of you during that episode. I think of you a lot during these episodes (particularly when they show Crosby partying and stuff…KIDDING), but especially this one. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t pick up on anything at first, but when they did, it opened up a whole new way of thinking.

    Anyhow…we can all just tell that in adulthood, Olivia will be an older version of what she is right now, beautiful and smart and much loved.

  4. I try not to think about it too much, but I do wonder what Helena will be like when she grows up. I’ve thought about it more lately since we’re in the midst of setting up a special needs trust for her. It’s certainly enough to drive a mother crazy.

  5. It is too hard to think that far ahead, and yet I think I need to be proactive in getting things set up (like the special needs trust thing) and networking with other parents to hopefully form that stronger community for when that day comes…

  6. I think about these things too and my Olivia is only four. I worry about her big sister feeling burdened if she (Olivia) is dependent upon her sister. I worry and then I remember that I can’t control the future. I can only work on today. You’re doing an amazing job with all your kids.

  7. Oh, yes! ONE DAY AT A TIME! That’s the only way to approach it!

  8. You aren’t alone. And, because our kids are who they are we feel the need to plan more for their future. Because I know you and love you I can say this: Olivia will have every opportunity to do whatever she is capable of because she has fantastic parents who have always reached for the stars for her. I know one thing for sure. She’ll be beautiful 🙂

  9. Now I have to watch this show. It seems pretty good! And you are so right, it is all about being happy. Nothing in this life is more important then that. Thank you for your honesty and sharing this post.

  10. Amen, sister. You are soooo not alone in your thoughts on this!!!

    ps: must start watching that show. heard too many good things like this about it 🙂

  11. It is a thought that I’ve contemplated. What kind of person will my daughter be? What kind of joys and sorrows will she experience? I always have a tendency to get ahead of myself, so it is important to just focus on the here and now. Thanks for the reminder Tiffany.

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