I came to a realization today. I think I am truly lucky that I have low expectations for Dustin. I was thinking that while I mourn for the things he will never be able to attain due to the fact that his mother drank while she was pregnant, I do not have the feeling of devastation that he will not accomplish these things.
I am still trying to decide if this because he is not "mine". Do I feel this way because this is not my fault? Lord, that sounds awful, but maybe that is a small part of it. I think that is has more to do with the fact that I knew what I was getting. I knew what they had "projected" for his limitations. I knew what they thought he may be able to accomplish. I really didn't get to experience the frustration with a diagnosis I wasn't expecting. I did get to grieve for a lost future. I knew what the model was equipped with, so to speak, and I knew what upgrades were in included.
I am not saying that I do not hope for more for Dustin. I am not saying that I have excepted the limitations they "thought" he may have. I will give him every opportunity he desires and can handle. I will pray for him to exceed every one's expectations including my own. But I know he will never drive a car. I know he will not sit and read an adult novel for pleasure. He will not be able to live alone. I know there are certain things he will not accomplish or even desire to accomplish.
What I began thinking about this afternoon is why would this be different if he was my "own" child? What kinds of things would I be feeling if he was home-made? I suppose I would still mourn the life that he could have had. I suppose I could be in denial about what his future may or may not hold. I am certain I would feel a sense of guilt. I suppose I may not even want to accept the thought that he may amount to less than I had planned for my child. It would be very difficult for me to come to terms with all the hopes and plans I had for this child from the moment I found that he was growing inside me with the reality of his situation. Would I have a different view of his limitations because of the visions I had for him? Would I refuse to accept the fact that there were things that may stand in the way of his hopes and dreams? I suppose the answer is yes.
Maybe I have a bit of an easier time with this due to the fact that Dustin functions at a 5 year old level since his IQ is so low. While he firmly expects to do things that are "normal" because that is what is portrayed everywhere around him, he accepts comments that those things may never happen. Case in point:
D: Mom, when I get my license I want a fast car.
Me: Dustin, you probably won't ever learn to drive.
D: I already know how, or else I can take a class.
Me: Honey, you have to be able to read and take a written test.
D: Oh. But my friends will have cars.
D: That's okay, I will just get a fast horse.
He knows kid's drive when they turn 16, but he accepted that it probably won't happen for him fairly easily. I decided to break the fact hat he cannot have a horse to "drive" to work to him slowly. Over the past few days while we were driving I said things like, "Hey do you see any horses?" and "Have you ever seen horses just randomly walking on the road?" Now he is quite aware that that will never happen either. He now knows he will learn to ride the bus to get places and rely on us and others to drive him places. Problem solved. He accepted it all in stride. No great disappointments for him to experience and for me to mourn.
So I guess I wonder if I wish I didn't feel so jaded. I wonder if I rather that I mourned the things I wish he could accomplish. I wonder if that is yet again something that is "less" than he should have. Maybe I am "less" than what was planned for him . . .
Seventeen years, seventeen stories.
10 hours ago