Parenting dreams and God's plan

Parents have dreams for their children.  Although we do not want to live vicariously through our son's life, we have always had hopes for his future.  The realities of life have shaped those dreams through the years.  Our hopes for Alan have evolved and changed.

Of course, we were idealistic - as parents usually are - when our son was young.  Optimism fueled our dreams then, when we believed that love and perseverance would overcome all the deficits that Alan struggled against.  That optimism served us well, and gave Alan opportunities that we might have never considered had we not been insistent that he be given all the advantages of any other child.  A friend once commented that when she first met Alan, she wondered how she was supposed to talk to him.  Once she watched us, she felt confident.  "You talk to him and treat him like he is a 'normal' child."    I think our attitude from the beginning of our parenting journey was that we expected Alan to be normal.  We would not accept anything less.

As time went on, and small deficits became bigger gaps, our dreams were amended.  Perhaps he would never be a plumber (Alan loved plumbing, pipes, water - plumbing was his passion!!) but surely he could work in a sheltered workshop and learn a useful skill.  Maybe he would never live completely independently, but surely he could live in an assisted apartment eventually.

For a few years, some of these dreams were realized.  Alan did work very successfully in a sheltered environment, but then behavior changes - what we now realize were the beginnings of Huntington's Disease - began to get in the way.

Although our experience may be different, I don't think we are unique in the fact that the dreams parents have for children must, of necessity, be amended.

What a comfort to know that, before he was born, God already had a plan for Alan's life, and that plan has never had to be adjusted.  Alan is a testimony to God's grace.  He has inspired people all along the way.  I am comforted to know that he is loved by God far more than I am capable of loving him.  Jesus will not abandon Alan.  He will hold him all the way along this difficult road.

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