Saturday, October 28, 2006


I am re-reading a book titled "Changed by a Child", a book of companion notes for parents of a child with a disability. I had flagged the note titled "Yielding" and, as I was reading it again, I realized why. This note epitomizes my personal struggle over the last 8 years very well. The process of yielding is continuous. I am constantly yielding, then trying to regain "control", then yielding again. With everything that has gone on the last few months with Jack -- from his surgery and all its complications to my present dealings with the school district (which is a very uncomfortable situation right now) ... it's again time to "yield".


Looking at what might be ours if we surrender to the fact of our child’s disability and its impact on our life, looking around at the roles others in a similar position seem to occupy, we might immediately protest: “Hey wait a minute. I don’t want to be exceptional, special, an advocate, political, a pioneer, a teacher, an expert on disability, brave, anguished, stigmatized, toughened, changed, holy.”

To surrender means to yield to the power of another; it carries strong connotations of defeat and ignominy. But to surrender also means to give up resistance. When we cling to our self-will we are in the ludicrous position of putting ourselves in charge of things that are out of our control. On the other hand, when we give up our will, when we give up resisting something we can’t change anyway, we open ourselves to a new set of choices. Actually, we never abandon our ability to will and to choose. We only shed the will we are presently exerting, because it no longer fits the circumstances of our life. Like a molting lobster, we give up the too-small will and grow a new set of intentions that fit.

Having given up our will that our child will walk, or see, or go to college or continue the family name, having embraced the new choices and undertaken new actions, we may discover that what we are doing is, in fact, exceptional or pioneering. We may find that our new, bigger shell is that of an advocate or an expert.


Cindy said...

I this this is true; giving up old dreams and creating new ones. But I think of it more as adapting rather than than yielding...


julie worthington said...

very poignant....


Melisande said...

I'll have to get that book too. I think I would call it reframing. It's totally different than what you (as the parent) expect. I see people in all different stages of life having to do that. It isn't easy. You don't see it coming either.

I admire you so much Ann. You have done so much for all of us as well as your own child.

Kristina said...

Your writing is always so thought provoking and real. I absolutely am smitten with this young man. He just strikes me as this very old soul. I am telling you its in those eyes. I think I see that book in my future.