Without Expectations

So, somehow in the last 24 hours, I became a parent to an adult child. I don’t even know how this is possible. Where has the time gone?

Because Tunes and Justice are so different now compared to their five year old selves, we often joke about five-year-old-Tunes and fourteen-year-old-Justice.

While fourteen-year-old-Justice is much easier to get along with, than five-year-old-Justice, I miss five-year-old-Tunes.

He was so sweet and caring. He was carefree and fun. He always had and endless supply of smiles and hugs.

But as he has grown, his anxiety has taken much of those traits away. I love my son with all my heart, and it’s so hard on me to see how his illness has stolen his childhood and has changed who he is.

This is not how I believe he was designed to be. And because I still hold onto those old expectations of him, I am often left bitter and disappointed.

He has just turned 18, and yesterday we joked about giving me my last 17 year old hugs and saying goodnight for the last time to my 17 year old.

Today we are having his party. I have spent weeks trying to figure out what to get him to make this a special occasion. I’ve asked him what he would like and I get the same response every time. I don’t know, it doesn’t matter.

But it does matter. It matters to me.

Late last night, while my husband and I were still out looking for something, I told him I wasn’t looking forward to tomorrow.

I have all these high expectations in my head for his 18th birthday and I know I’m going to be let down again.

He’s not going to be happy. He’s not going to smile and be excited to see his family. From the moment people start showing up, and he’s forced from his room he’s going to be harassing me to let him go back. Social gatherings exhaust and irritate him and he makes sure they are equally as hard on me too.

And here I am trying to make it special. I guess the only reason we are still doing it is because he’s always shared his party with his little sister who’s birthday is just four days before his. And well, eight years later, of course.

Every year, I’ve always given him the option to have separate parties, but every year he’s always wanted to share with her. His relationship with his little sister has always been a close one. And this one is probably going to be their last.

So, as we’re wandering around the store last night, really wanting to get him a bike since he has no interest in getting a car or his license, but knowing it’s not really something he wants either, I decided to not get him anything.

Well, anything for right now.

I can’t see spending so much money on something that he may not even use, just to give him something special, that he doesn’t even care about.

And then there is the high expectation of seeing a look of delight and excitement in his eyes when it is revealed, that I’m never going to get. And the disappointment sets in for me and for him.

Why put us both through that?

So I’m getting him nothing. No expectations. No disappointment. He doesn’t care anyway, right?

But I will tell him this is just for today. We don’t have to put so much pressure on this one day. We have tomorrow and even the next day. We can take our time to make this time special; to make this gift special.

I am always rushing him; expecting him to be what I consider normal.

He doesn’t get A’s and B’s, but he does still pass…barely. I pushed him to get a job at 16, but he eventually did get one at 17…and a half. I’ve taken him several times to get his drivers permit, but he just doesn’t want it…yet. But he will.

Just like he will think of that special gift from me. One day he will know and he will care, and that will be the day I celebrate with him.

We’ll get there. But this time without expectations.

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