While Rachel was in Early Intervention, I had a couple therapists comment to me about how much "I knew" Rachel. Meaning, how well I knew what her reactions to things would be or what she would do. I took that as a compliment. I was with her 24/7, shouldn't I know her that well?
As she went off to pre-k I kept that mentality. That I knew her so well. That I knew what her limits were and were not. But now, I'm starting to realize that I have no idea what her limits are. I have no idea what she can and cannot do. How can I expect her to do her best when I have these ideas in my head about what she is capable of?
We went to a local pumpkin farm this past weekend. They had many physical things for kids to do. Plenty of climbing and slides and stairs and ladders. Rachel charged ahead and up some stairs and bee lined it to the large curly slide. Oh no, I thought, she can't do that. She flip all over and hurt herself. But she went and I ran around to see her coming out of the bottom smiling from ear to ear. Wow.
She climbed up the stairs and went down again and again. Finally she realized she could take the stairs up one more flight to even larger and faster slides. Oh no, I thought, she is really going to hurt herself! I managed to grab her and went down with her. She loved it. We went up again with Stephen and Charlie. She wanted to go down alone. I waited at the bottom expecting her to be terrified as she shot down alone. But she came out of the slide, again, with a smile as wide as her face.
That day I was left dumbstruck, just grasping at this new reality of who Rachel was this whole time and yet I had no idea because I had set limits in my head. I thought I knew her like the back of my hand but I don't and it's time for me to let her show me who she is.