Today was a beautiful fall day in Wisconsin. It was sunny, warm, and wonderful. Ian went off to school as usual, and Lydia and I headed to the Milwaukee County Zoo for a morning with the animals. About an hour into being there, we came across a large group of special needs kids with their caregivers, obviously on a group outing to the zoo. Most of the group were in wheelchairs, and my best guess is that they had cerebral palsy. Lydia, not at all shy, ran around among them, happily chattering about the lions and the tigers. The parents that were with the group were watching her with smiles, but there was something else there too. I thought to myself "I know that look. I've had that look!"
That look was the what if? look.
What if my kid could run around the zoo like that little girl?
What if my kid could talk to me about what what they're seeing and thinking right now?
Since Ian wasn't with us at the zoo, these parents had no clue that I also belonged to their what if? club. They couldn't know that I've spent many an outing with Ian, watching the other kids with a little envy and thinking what if?
While I definitely love and accept Ian just the way he is, it is impossible for me to shut out all those little what ifs? - especially when we're someplace where we're surrounded by typical kids doing things, well, typically.
I can't help but think what if Ian could run and jump like the other boys on the playground? Or what if Ian could run up to me and tell me about his day or something he's thinking? And on and on.
I've had to learn not to let the what ifs? consume me, because that does nothing to help my life or Ian's. I have to concentrate on helping Ian become the best Ian he can be. I don't want Ian to dwell on the what ifs?, so I shouldn't do it either.
As for today, it was a chance to enjoy a nice day with Lydia. As the younger child, she doesn't usually get the kind of one-on-one attention and alone time with her parents that Ian enjoyed for almost three years. She really had a great time. :)