When we went to bed last night Joe told me that if I was up first to be aware that the kitchen hadn't been cleaned up and I'd come in on a mountain of dishes. I told him that I didn't mind doing them, and in fact, I don't.
Sure enough in the morning, I go into the kitchen and turn the light on, and organize the dishes and then do them. Now, I don't air-dry dishes. I like to dry them and put them away, I don't like a pile of dishes left to air-dry. I think it looks messy and I hate when going to do the dishes to find I have to put away all the ones left first. But that's me. Joe disagrees. We don't talk about it anymore, he does it his way, and I do it mine.
But that's not what I wanted to talk about. Something happened when I was drying the cups. I normally leave them on the counter for Joe to put away because they are on a shelf just out of my reach. But when I put the plates away, somehow, at that moment, the second shelf seemed almost in reach. I haven't tried for a very long time and I thought that stretching is a big part of my exercise routine.
I picked up the cup and reached, couldn't do it but I was close. I moved my wheelchair alongside the counter and tried again. Plop, the cup was on the shelf. I was jubilant.
Now here's the thing. If someone sat me down a year ago and asked me what my goals were, I'd never have said putting cups of the second shelf. I would have given other goals that would have me taking more care of our place, but not that one. I'd ruled it out. It's weird to say that my dreams weren't big enough to include one little task.
And there's the thing.
Dreams need to be vast.
Dreams need to encompass impossibles.
Dreams need to go from tiny to gigantic.
And my dreams do not need to meet your approval. You do not have the right to scrutinize and criticize my dreams. Saying, laughingly, "Hingsburger's big dream was to put a cup on the second shelf, what a loser," disqualifies you from being welcome in my life.
And here's another thing.
Dreaming has to be taught. It's a skill. People with intellectual disabilities, like a lot of people, maybe some of you, have had their dreams dimmed by a lifetime of reduced expectations and a thousand voices with a million opinions weighing down the lighteness of dreaming into the darkness of goals set for the needs of others. The burden of this bends the back of our will and stunts our ability to dream.
Here's what I'd like to see on a plan:
Here's what I'd like to see done.