Once upon a time it used to be more common for employers to provide employees with a cell phone. Now imagine your boss gave you an iPhone, much to your delight. 3 years pass and you decide you need another phone. You approach your boss and he agrees to order you a phone. You wait with great anticipation; you have heard about all the newer features on the latest edition of the iPhone and can’t wait to have one. The following week you find a package on your desk and it is an Android phone.
How do you feel? Disappointment, anger, curiosity, surprise.
What is going through your mind? “Was there a mix-up and the wrong item sent by mistake?” “Did your boss make a mistake?” “How could he do this to you?” “How could he do this to you!”
Regardless of your emotional state and your ATM, there is nothing bad about this event it simply requires an adjustment. You may have to learn to how to get your phone to perform in a manner different than what you are used to, but it still is an amazing phone. It may not have all the features you were expecting, but it still is an amazing phone. And there are other people with this phone who can help you with your learning curve and adjustment. Maybe you can’t facetime anymore but you can still call or What’s App video or Google Hangout (is that a verb?).
The above allegory is a little simplistic but it is a modern-day version of a beautiful piece entitled “Welcome to Holland” (depicted above). This piece is generally shared with parents of children with special needs. Not to minimize the pain and grieving process that these parents must go through I would like to posit that parenting ANY child is never the experience the parent expects. I will start with the obvious, every child has special/surprising individual needs. Whether the parents are a couple of desk jockeys who have a child who is athletic, or the active parents who end up with a bookworm, etc.
Different is not bad, it is simply…different than expected. At the end of the day the phone/trip/child is still a gift. Once you let go of your expectations you can enjoy the blessing of being gifted and start unwrapping your present.
Do you have a support system of parents who are going through the same challenges as you? Do you have a support system of professionals with expertise in the specific nuances you are dealing with?