Sunday, April 11, 2010

Struggling


I've been thinking about this whole struggling thing. How Finn has to struggle so much to achieve the things that other kids breeze through. How sometimes it feels like everything is a struggle for Finn. And how sometimes I get down about it.

Today I had something of an epiphany: Finn doesn't struggle. In fact, pretty much nothing is a struggle for him.

See, here's the thing: struggle implies suffering, at least to some degree, or working against some force or great odds. In fact, the dictionary app on my iPhone defines "struggle" as "to make (one's way) with violent effort."

And you know what? That doesn't sound like Finn at all. He's not suffering in his efforts to achieve or to reach milestones. I wouldn't even say that he's working against some force or great odds, and I certainly wouldn't characterize him as making his way with violent effort. He's just going along, living life, exploring the world, figuring stuff out along the way, mischievous, inquisitive, and happy as a clam (well, mostly - except when I'm changing his diaper against his will or removing him from the edge of the bathtub, or, like tonight, when he's vomiting up his dinner all over me).

Any struggle that's going on is mine, and mine alone. Finn has no idea that he's any different from anyone else. He has no idea that it's taking him longer to reach milestones and master skills than it took his brothers and sisters. He doesn't have a clue that his abilities have been reduced to numbers in a thick stack of papers called an IFSP. He doesn't care. And he's not exerting any huge effort to get to this arbitrary place he's supposedly supposed to be at. He's just being himself, and he's perfectly content with that. He's doing everything he's supposed to be doing, on a timeline that's his alone. I'm the one who sometimes feels sad because he hasn't yet mastered this or that. I'm the one who sometimes struggles knowing that he's always going to be different.

I guess I need to lay off the struggling, huh?

13 comments:

Lisa said...

I love this post, Lisa. Truly. I totally agree... our little ones don't struggle to achieve what they have achieved. Some take longer to get there. Some might even work a little harder to get there. But it's not a struggle. And, so sorry Finn puked on you. Bleh.

The Sanchez Family said...

Awesome post Lisa...thank you for the reminder. I would even go so far as to say our kiddos enjoy the challenge sometimes and boy are they proud of themselves when they do accomplish something new...priceless! Again, I can learn so much from Joaquin and his friends...so so much!

Loren Stow said...

So true - it is not our beautiful children, in all their love and innocence, who 'suffer' anything at all! Instead it is us, as parents and society, that impose some kind of 'checklist' on our children (and everyone in fact), and then expect everyone to measure up.
It is our realities, not theirs, that bring about the concept of 'lacking' or 'less than'.
Finn is just absolutely beautiful, precious and perfect - as he is.
Thank you for a thought-provoking post!!

Mer said...

Great post, Lisa! I've been thinking about this too and came to the conclusion that our kids were made for this - God designed them with adversity in mind and He has given them the strength, power, and perseverance to get through what the rest of us would see as struggles. I wish I had that much hard work and motivation deep within myself some days!

Esther and Brian said...

Lisa, I think that this worrying applies to all kids, not just Finn. My twins, as you know, happen not to have been born with an extra chromosome, but there are some things that they are officially behind in. Like speech- not enough words...we take them to therapy now and well, the rest is up to them. They do not know, they try and of course get frustrated when I do not know exactly what they want, but they will start speaking in their own time..just maybe slower than some kiddos...the main thing is that Finn is happy, as you say, and he does not know about timelines! It's always the parents, I tell ya...

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

I really needed this post! I am struggling...not Maddie...she is so happy and proud of herself! it is me that is struggling that she is not doing what I think she should be doing! because i tend to compare her to others...instead of just letting her be...this was a great one...thanks ... smiles

Terri said...

I remember coming to that same realization when my daughter was young and feeling like it was ME who had reached a milestone! Congratulations!

Monica Crumley said...

Yup, you got it. Finn doesn't look like he's struggling or suffering in any way. And, yes, those milestones on IFSPs are arbitrary. He'll get to it when he's ready and not because he's "supposed" to. Great revelation... bummer about the vomiting, though...

Runningmama said...

Thank you for this post. I just found your blog, my daughter Emily has DS and is 10 months old and what you wrote here is so helpful for me...she has been working so hard at crawling or getting somewhere is someway whether it be combat crawling or rolling and her preferred method which is backwards crawling! But you are right, if I think about her face while she is working so hard, she is smiling and is in no way "struggling"! I am your newest follower!

Kelli @ http://livinglifewithes.blogspot.com

Andrea said...

Soooo true. I needed to hear that. It really is me who struggles, I need to just get over it! :)
Thank you! Love to read your honesty!

MaggieMae said...

Awesome deep thought Lisa! And so true! The struggle is all mine and not The Boys' at all. I hope that I can stop struggling [preferrably some day soon] and I hope that they never start.

Jeanette said...

Great commentary! I think this is something we all need to reflect on! Thanks for being out there and honest!!!

Melissa M said...

Thank you for the wonderful post. It's a wonderful reminder for me as my baby gets older.