"Au cours de ma grossesse, je m'attendais à un garçon aux yeux bleus, qui excellerait au hockey et qui apprendrait à jouer du violon salon la méthode Suzuki. Au lieu de cela, j'ai eu un garçon aux yeux bruns, qui tenait dans ses mains une feuille de paper avec Plan B écrit sur elle et rien d'autre. Le papier est toujour blanc et nous prenons la vie doucement, un défi á la fois."
The above paragraph is from a presentation I gave to first year occupational therapists at L'Université de Montréal this past year. I was reminded of it a couple of weeks ago when I received a modest but symbolic paycheck for my efforts and again this past week-end while celebrating my son's eleventh birthday, revelling in what a kind and thoughtful young man he is becoming.
Like most parents with children who struggle for one reason or another (my son's challenges are due to a diagnosis of DCD), I've run the gamut of emotions over years, asked all the hard questions and come to the same conclusion every time. There's nothing to do but work on stuff so work on stuff we do, with a whole lot of help from our "village".
There are plenty of times when my son laments over the difficulty of some task or expresses disappointment at not being able to perform a specific activity well, but I have never once heard him express envy or jealousy towards anyone who demonstrates a skill or talent he wishes he had. In fact, quite the opposite is true. He's genuinely happy for them and shows it through unabashed admiration and praise. This character trait is quite remarkable under the circumstances as it would be so much easier to feel sorry for himself. It is also a strategic quality, not that he is being consciously guileful, quite the opposite is true, but the end result more often than not, is that his peers step away from their glory long enough to show a struggling boy how it's done. And that, dear readers, is how you fill up a blank sheet of paper with moments of grace, when just yesterday the only thing written on it was "Plan B."