Friday, 15 January 2016

Great expectations.

Bring a 'disabled' child into the world and the most amazing thing happens. You suddenly bear witness to a worldwide underground fitness craze you never knew existed. And that shit is EVERYWHERE. Hospitals, doctors' offices, schools, playgrounds, theme parks, the grocery store, you name it.

It's called Jumping to Conclusions.

It seems everyone but you and a select few clued up people are doing it. And it makes you redden and sweat buckets although you don't practice it. It makes your heart palpitate and the veins in your temples throb in anger and frustration. It makes you heat up straight from your very core even when you're perfectly still, usually with your mouth agape, wondering what child those quasi-athletic wunderkinds are looking at because sure as the sun shines, all that jumping, all that concluding, does. not. apply. to yours.

(No, no, you are delusional, he is entirely limited by his disability and will only go as far as our statistics say.)
(jump, jump)

Bring a 'disabled' child into the world and you will near instantly learn volumes about accepting difference, and still more about how every child really does develop at his own pace, his own journey drawn by him and no one else. And he chases it. By God, he chases it with his arms trying to embrace the sun, the wind blowing his cheeks red, his feet tumbling over one another at whatever pace is called HIS OWN. He chases it with all that he is because it is in him. Because he is being raised to understand that if he wants it, if he works for it, it is his. Just like everyone else. He knows he can achieve and he knows we believe in him and he knows we will not let the detractors drag him down. He knows we entirely have his back.

He KNOWS.

(But he has Down's syndrome, he can't KNOW. Surely he can't KNOW.)

He KNOWS. Put your tickboxes down and observe our son.
He KNOWS.

Yet they try to break him, saying no, no. Not you.
You aren't.
You can't.
You won't.

Still all the negativity and erroneous conclusions in the world will not stop him.

Because he IS.
He CAN.
He WILL.

He KNOWS. Do not dare persist in underestimating him. It would be amusing if it weren't so pathetic.

Despite what the Jumpers want to believe, the signposts of goals and achievements for everyone in this life do not match one another. They are not equidistant, and they are all too often not even pointing in the same direction. All human roads bend and loop and sometimes wrap clean around themselves before coming out the other end. Sometimes they come to a dead stop and start back up again. Sometimes the paths meet up along the journey, hinting at similarity, the whisper of a reflection gone as quickly as a raindrop dissipates pond water into concentric ripples.

Yet lo and behold around that next corner, just past that next signpost, they jump til their knees stiffen and their backs ache and their brains bruise from crashing against their skulls. And every once in awhile, they'll fall. They'll fail. They'll break.

Because he will break them.

He will rise and they will fall.
Their conclusions inaccurate, their assumptions flawed, flimsy, lazy.
Their expectations of him miniscule. Sometimes nonexistent. Given with barely a breath.

“But he has a learning disability,” they say. “We don’t expect him to go far.” Flippant pity.

And you reply no.

No. Maybe he’ll go work in a theater company.
No. Maybe he'll go perform in a symphony.
No. Maybe he'll go work in IT.

He will go as far as he works to go. Unless you are the great master of the universe, I'm afraid you and your fortune telling jumping game do not apply.

Sit the hell DOWN and pay attention.

The only conclusion you are allowed to reach is that he is the master of his own fate. You and your statistics are not in charge of him. You will not succeed in underestimating him and cloaking him in your negativity.

If you had your way he'd not even exist. He does. And he will soar. Get used to it.

(jump, jump)

And they frown at you and shake their heads and call you difficult. And obstructive. And in denial. 'Our numbers say here...'

(jump, jump)

Here on the cusp of age four, we are not blinded by all that head rattling because we are on the solid ground called Reality. Called Ability We've Witnessed, and One Day at a Time. We rise and fall and rise and rise again. We expect so much more of our son than does everyone else because we have seen his intellect and his drive and his passion deliver his progress. We have witnessed him think and process and experiment. Great human beings deserve Great Expectations. We would not dare cheat him with less.

And so our goals for our son are simple: soar. Find your joy and embrace it. Find your passion and deliver it. Find your road and own it. In your time, in your way.

Own it.

We follow his lead. We watch this clever little boy who is taking a little bit longer to stop and smell the roses on his journey. And this is a problem, why? Not in our world.

(jump, jump)

This so-called 'disabled' child is every day fulfilling his unique purpose - a singular and boundless opportunity to be magnificent. Just like everyone else. One day he will look back from his place far ahead in this life and may indeed feel pity upon those who once pitied him. Pity the small-mindedness.

Dare I say I would cheer.

They can jump clear into the sky and conclude til they run out of guesses. We expect our son to blow their minds and we know he will - we've already seen it. Perhaps they should stop jumping now, take a seat, stop concluding and pay attention.

It'll be a wonderful sight to behold.

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