Friday, 18 November 2016

Lower expectations

Years ago my friend Krista and I would run together when our girls were at dance. While we ran we would do what all young moms would do with their girlfriends - talk about our husbands (and our kids too sometimes). A common theme Krista and I had was that our husbands would not always do what we thought they should, which then caused the creation of a common saying between the two of us: Lower expectations.

Not low, just lower.

Krista and her family have long since moved away, but these conversations came back to me today (I miss you Krista). Now before you think I am talking about Theo I will have you know that the shed is coming along quite well. The walls are up, the plywood is on, the windows and doors are cut out and the trusses are set to go on next week. Theo has had some help (she gets up there on her own) as well as those that just like to sit around and supervise (that's me).
Look closely to see who's helping.

The person who I need to have lower expectations of is me. I know that I have talked about this before, but today I was reminded, again. At the end of the day I often pay for having had too long of a list. Today, I just wanted to do too much, knew I just couldn't and it really got to me.

I skipped going to Parkwood today so that I could attend a meeting about being on the Huron County Accessibility Advisory Committee. [More on that later.] The meeting was just before lunch in Goderich and it was a gorgeous day. November 17th and it was sunny and warm, the perfect day to head down to the lake. In my previous life I would have gone to the meeting, changed into my running gear, ran down to the lake, along the boardwalk, up and down all the staircases once or twice, ran back to the car, changed my clothes, met a friend for coffee and then picked up a few groceries on the way home. That was then, this is now.

 I was on my own today and was not meeting anyone that I knew, so I could not make plans to get help with my chair. I know I can do it on my own, and today I did, but it's not a perfect system and today it proved that yet again. First of all the only wheelchair accessible spot was taken so I had to park in the angle parking on the street. It was level, which was lucky. As I got out of the car and started to pull my chair the front caster got caught in my pulley system. I had to push my chair back in far enough so I could untangle the wheel from the ropes and then get it rolling back out of the car. Fine, got it out and got into where I needed to go and had the meeting.

Before I had even left home I had managed my expectations. I thought I would roll from the museum down to the square, maybe have a quick lunch, or visit a store I wanted to see. Then go home. I thought that was reasonable. After my meeting, when I got out onto the sidewalk and looked at how far it was to the square (it was not far - one full block) it seemed like miles. So I didn't go.

I started getting into the car and I thought maybe I would just drive down to the beach and roll on the boardwalk. But that would mean getting my chair in and out twice. It's easy to get my chair out because gravity helps. Getting it in is different. As I worked to get my chair in for some reason my legs spasmed out and I felt a little too close to the edge of my transfer board. As I pulled hard to get my chair in and not caught on the edge of the door frame...I changed my mind.

What did I do today? I went to the meeting and came home. I did not go to lunch or the beach, I didn't even drive down there. Doing so would have just made me think about what I could not do. I got in the car and drove straight back home. As I drove down that road, that straight stretch of County Road 25, where it crosses Council Line, where all this began, I got sad. Sad enough to cry. So I did.


  1. I'm sorry you didn't get to enjoy the sunshine and do all that you would have liked to today, Julie. Getting accustomed to managing your expectations for yourself day by day, and being able to do more some days than others (because of unknowns - like whether there's decent accessible parking!) has got to be emotionally exhausting. I don't pretend to 'know', but I certainly think I'd have had a good cry too. Sending a hug.

  2. Like she said. Oh my. How unfair this all is that you are facing what most people don't need to face until much later on in life when aging, illness, and chronic disease force the same cutting back for most people. However, at that time it's expected and there is understanding with fewer energy-intensive expectations. Sounds like today's Plan B didn't bring you much joy.

  3. I just want to say that while I wish this kind of day did not have to happen, you have made a beautiful piece of writing out of it. It is beautiful because of what you leave open and unresolved. I love the courage and dignity of that. The world needs more writing like this

  4. Sounds like you did what you most needed to do... And that is always enough.

  5. you always make me feel........whether it is happy for you or sad for I felt your hurt that you could not do what you wanted to do........

  6. Miss you too! Not the runs so much, though that was nice too, more the company.