I had a brief but wonderful heart-to-heart with a good friend of mine last night who has been an inspiration to me and many other parents. Her name is Louise Kinross and she writes a spectacular blog called Bloom, all about parenting kids with disabilities.
As usual our conversation started in one spot and meandered down a number of paths before arriving at a familar place. A few years ago Louise introduced me to the concept of the ‘Enough House,‘ a reference to the name of a mansion from the Dickens’ classic Great Expectations. “It meant…that whoever had this house, could want nothing else,” says Estella.
This is how I picture Enough House. Not Dickensian, but it is enough.
I remember when Louise talked about applying the concept of the Enough House to ourselves and our lives we both breathed an audible sigh of relief – as though the idea of ‘being enough’ gave us immediate permission to let go. To be who we were, flaws and all. To be whole despite, or even because of, our imperfections.
The topic has come up from time to time on Louise’s blog and after talking about it last night, I’ve decided the coming year is going to be about ‘being enough.’
There’s an odd by-product that can come from reading inspirational memoirs or watching overcoming-the-odds movies – as affirming as they can be, they can also create high expectations among parents and children.
As Louise writes: “Somehow it’s not good enough to simply be an ordinary person with a disability. It’s as though the value of a person with a disability hinges on them doing something considered exceptional in the typical world.”
As parents this can mean unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We feel we need to do more and more for our child so that they too can ‘overcome’ their disability. And if they continue to struggle, we wonder where we failed.
But that’s not what I picture life to be like at the Enough House. It is not a place of pressure, but of release, of celebrating the small beauties of everyday life and experiencing the joy that is already there, just waiting for us to walk in and enjoy it. Like looking over at Ryan as the pool today and seeing him spontaneously connect with a young boy and play for just a few moments.
So I’ve decided to take up residence at Enough House this year. I’ll save a seat for you, if you want to join me there.
With best wishes, Anne-Marie