Friday, October 07, 2005

Dad's Turmoil

My family had some friends over last night that I hadn’t seen in about a year. It was cool to hang out with them all. Seeing old friends is a good release from the busy, stressful routine of life.

One of the couples has a daughter who was born within a month or so of when my daughter was born. It was amazing to see where she was at in her development. She was walking and running confidently. She interacted well with the other kids. She fed herself the same things that the rest of us had for dinner. I was shocked at the seemingly advanced abilities of their “typical” daughter.

This left me with a mixed set of feelings that I’m still kind of working through. It’s funny how used to my daughter’s own levels of abilities I’ve become, never giving a second thought to what a “normal” two year old can do. Now that I see it I feel frustrated for my daughter who can’t even scoot to reach a toy that she wants. Yet my daughter doesn’t feel frustrated with herself because she doesn’t realize that she’s different. But her potential just seems to much lower than the little two year old girl who waved good-bye and told me “thank you” for letting her come to play last night.

On the other hand I’m so glad that my daughter is so healthy overall. She doesn’t require any serious medical intervention right now. The therapists help her, but she’s not needing hospital visits and pediatrician's visits like she used to. In reality I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. My daughter’s happy and “healthy” by the standards we’ve accepted for her.

As a parent, I just want to much more for her. I want her to be able to go in the back yard and play with a ball like I did with the other kids last night. Some of that desire is selfish. I personally would like to see it happen, but I also can’t help but think that my daughter would enjoy that too. Or am I just forcing my own desires onto her when she’s really just content to sit there and play with her toys.

I suppose most of this turmoil is caused by comparing my child to others, which I’ve mentioned many times is never a good idea. I know I shouldn’t be doing that, but I want so badly for my little girl to be able to enjoy some of the things that other children enjoy. I'd like to see her learn to love some of the things that I enjoy. And I really don’t think that’s such a bad desire.

Years ago I dated a girl who was studying to care for the disabled. She told me once that those with disabilities don't suffer. Maybe she's right, sometimes just do to a lack of recognition on the part of some disabled individuals. However, I would say that those of us that care for and watch over disabled loved ones do suffer. I'm not talking about great unbearable suffering, but a constant desire for that loved one that I don't believe can ever be quite fulfilled. In my case, that desire is that my daughter could enjoy the abilities of a "normal" child.

No comments: