After I picked up Kiddo's IEP papers today, I did some thinking. I'm well aware that I have not "lived up to my potential." I could easily have had a Master's Degree at the age of 22 if I had applied myself right out of high school. I've made my share of bad choices. I'm disappointed in myself in many ways, and always feel my Dad is, too, even though he and my step-mom tell me otherwise. BUT I also thought about what if I had lived up to that potential? A) I might not have Kiddo. Likely wouldn't, because those choices would have sent my life in another direction. And as much as this kid can really get my goat at times, I wouldn't trade her for the world. B) If by some chance I HAD lived up to my potential AND still had Kiddo, I honestly don't think I would've been able to understand her difficulties. A lot of her difficulties are similar to mine, and the planned path I had for myself was a fairly cold and analytical one. And a decently paying one. If I had not made choices that have made my life "rough" and forced me to learn to ask for help when I need it, I wouldn't know how to ask for help for her, I would just expect her to "hoover it up and deal with it" like I would have if I had taken that road.