Thursday, March 15, 2012

Expecting the Unexpected

Being a Virgo, I am a planner by nature. With that being said, learning to be flexible and "expect the unexpected" was always a hard concept for me to grasp. Then we had Aiden. His birth provided the ultimate shock factor, preparing me in a profound way for a life of throwing plans out the window and going with the flow.

It was a hard lesson to learn. I no longer had the freedom to plan my life around the predictable baby issues - runny noses, sleepless nights, ear infections. Everything became magnified. Even when I had the opportunity to use my knack for organization in keeping track of doctors appointments, medicine dosages and therapy logistics there were always moments that would knock me down. "Didn't see that coming", I'd think when a new medical issue arose or our finances were hanging on by a thread after an insurance denial.

For a good year and a half, I held on to the hope that I had some iota of control as a mother. That my love for my kids and ability to keep things on track despite the craziness around me would be enough. At some point, however, I finally realized that along with the dreams of a perfect little healthy family, I also had to let go of the idea that I would somehow avoid any more "unexpected" moments. Those moments...they just come with the territory. Scheduling a surgery doesn't necessarily mean it will happen as planned due to a nasty virus that rears it's ugly head the week of. Getting bills paid on time sometimes can't happen - the money just isn't there. If I continued to believe I could plan everything out the way it would actually happen I would never survive as a special needs parent.

Recently we took Aiden for his 2nd Visual Evoked Potential eye test expecting normal results. Instead we received a phone call from his surgeon with surprising news. The test showed an increase in abnormalities compared to his first test, putting him below the "normal" threshold. We braced ourselves as he spoke of doing a surgery in the next week for increased intracranial pressure. There it was again, mocking us "Didn't see that coming"...

However now - 4 years into this journey - we were able to keep a cool head and roll with the punches. This kind of stuff just doesn't phase us anymore. If surgery is what he needed even when we thought we'd have at least another year surgery-free, then so be it. We'd consult our calendars, move things around and make it happen. We'd figure out the appropriate way to start discussing it with Aiden. We would determine the best way to soften the blow that his first season of t-ball wasn't going to be possible this spring. Despite the "unexpected" news, we now have a way of setting a plan into motion.

Sometimes it stinks that we have become so accustomed to dealing with bad news. Every now and then I get a little down thinking about how far we've strayed from our "plans" for life when we first started out as a married couple. But mostly I am able to see how many ways my life, my personality and my character has been enriched by the difficult decisions and situations that lay behind us. And that gives me hope that we'll be able to get through all of the "unexpected" moments we have up ahead.

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