I had ambitious plans for the year. I was no longer going to waste time trying to convince others to do what I thought was right. Instead, I was going to put processes in place to ensure things worked despite everyone else’s disinterest in the outcomes.
It seemed like there wasn’t a week when one of Constance’s teams didn’t forget to put her special 10 oz. water bottle back in her lunch sack. This oddly sized bottle was the exact amount of water that was to be added to her powdered vitamin mix. When I tried changing the team’s behavior with rational explanations, friendly reminders, and incentives, they still forgot the bottle. This year, I found 10 oz. thermoses and bought a dozen. They still forgot them regularly but it was no longer a problem. In the same vein, they frequently forgot her daily report so I put the form online with entries immediately going to me and their supervisor via email. The ease of use and text reminder meant they never forgot the form again.
To help with her gross motor skills, I signed Constance up for golf lessons. When the park district canceled the class because of a scheduling conflict, I convinced a pro to give her weekly one-on-one lessons at a racquetball facility. Her favorite thing about golf seemed to be my loud cheers of delight every time she made a successful swing. Much to the chagrin of her coach and others at the facility, after each successful swing, Constance would do a victory lap while I clapped, yelled, and jumped excitedly. To increase her swim time and help her get extra practice with personal care, we went from three weekly trips to the pool to daily trips.
To get her to try new foods, I included a different snack in her lunch each day. On the top of the Pyrex container, I put a note on painter’s tape asking “Constance, is this good?” She would then try a bite. If it was good, she’d eat it all. If it was not, she would tell me in the evening. When she decided she no longer liked tortellini, I didn’t argue. I just removed it from the possible things I would make for her lunch.
In every way, I tried to implement systems and schedules to ensure Constance’s optimal success. I was convinced this was going to be the year of Constance. When I am wrong, I am wrong.
You don’t truly know your capacity for love until you become a parent. You don’t know your capacity for sorrow until you lose your child.