Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's Going to Be Alright

Today Richie, Maelynn and I had a pretty regular day.  We had our breakfast, then the kids played while I got my shopping list together.  Eventually I was ready enough to walk through our local grocery store without making anyone too frightened or winding up on one of those joke websites of people with the newer age equivalent of toilet paper on their shoes.  Diapers washed, kids in clean clothes and with clean faces, and I even had a clean travel coffee mug in the cabinet which was quickly filled with that wonderful stuff that I drink for the protection of those around me.  The store had everything I needed, and even some on sale.  Mae didn't lose her binky.  The kids were sibling-fussy but overall not bad.  Gas was less than it is in town, and after (what should have been as much as it cost) a fill up, I was on my way back to Groesbeck.  Back in town before naptime, kids took their naps and I started laundry, dishes, and wading through the grocery put-away process.  Stuck the kids in the van when 2:40 came and picked up Ryan, who fussed his usual fuss when we didn't turn to go to Waco to see Miss Staci, but nothing major. 

The rest of the evening went much as this... and it was fabulous.  It was like a day off.  Ryan was so great, and only minimal fussing but no meltdowns!  He had a better day at school too.  Richie is talking more and more and is taking more care of his big brother, which is so sweet.  When Ryan fusses in the van, Richie says "Shh, Wyan... it's okay."  When he won't eat, Richie says, "eatcha food, Wyan" in the most gentle yet concerned way an almost three year-old could.  But the latter wasn't needed... Ryan ate THREE PLATES of taco salad!  Okay, it's meat, beans, chips and cheese but he ATE and it wasn't pizza.  Much celebration ensued!  Ryan was allowed a brownie and received much fanfare for his performance at the dinner table!  Richie wasn't left out... he had two plates and got to have some sliced "pomato" for dinner.  I know, right?  One who won't eat anything and one who just wants tomatoes for dessert.  God knew I needed a break in that area!  After dinner, we went outside and played until it got too close to bedtime.  Mae had a blast playing in poor Jedi's water (yes, I got him more) and Richie ran around the yard and slid down the slide.  The next part was too cool.

Eric and I sat on the porch swing on the patio that overlooks the yard, and Ryan climbed up and laid across our laps.  He was content to be there with us... no fussing, no beating his ears, no banging his head, no asking for Miss Staci.

He felt like my precious baby boy again.

He snuggled in our laps in a way that reminded me somehow of the night of the day he was born.  I remember less of that day than I wish I did (thanks, demerol).  But I do remember sitting up at about three in the morning in the hospital bed, holding this perfect little person.  I remember the amazement that I was finally a mother.  I was the mommy.  It was surreal that this tiny little guy was now my responsibility.  It was raining that night in Denton, and I remember looking out the window, watching it rain, praying for Ryan.  Praying for us.  As the rain slapped the window, by the light of the cracked bathroom door and the sound of my husband sleeping on a cot at the foot of the bed, I sat praying for Eric Ryan Senzig's whole life... his relationship with Christ, his future wife, even.  That moment was unforgettable.  The peace was amazing.  We were a family!  I'd wanted to be wife and mommy my whole life, and there you go.  We went in that morning to have him turned (he was breech), and we decided to go ahead and have him that day.  So it was go in surgery, come out with a baby.  Yes, the nine months before I knew it was coming, but you can never know what it's really like until you're living it. 

In the same way, I can't know what you're going through.  You can tell me, and I will listen.  I will do my best to encourage you, and try to empathize as best I can.  Even if I walked your days right by your side, I can still never know exactly how you feel.  Those of you who have an ASD child come closest, and that understanding is such a relief.  Those of you who have worked with autistic kids have a good idea, too.  But the best?  The best thing ever is when people simply listen, admit they can't understand, maybe even ask a few questions... but admit they can't understand.  Not necessarily feel sorry for us... Ryan is an amazing child!  He is smarter than I am.  I'm sure of that.  And what an incredible gift to be the mother of three children!  I am blessed beyond measure every day of my life whether I feel like it or not.  But showing that you believe Eric and I are doing the best we can... trusting that we are doing the best we can... is the best way to offer human comfort.

It's just that some days, the differences seem to jump out and taunt you.  Like I said before, I understand that getting my feelings hurt is going to be part of the growing pains of life for us, and I'm all for dealing with that and accepting it.  But when those things jump out and smack me, my first instinct is to want to protect.  Right now the act of leaving the house with all three kids ensures me an interesting time.  One 15 month old, one 2 3/4 year old, and one nearly six year old who is on a 2 year old emotional and social level, plus one mother... versus the grocery store.  Versus anywhere.  I look at these things and pray with all my heart to "just please God let me be able to stay calm!"  "Please God let me be able to keep them safe!"  "Please God help me learn to handle this!  Give me the strength, peace and energy!  I SO can't do this without You, Lord!"  That's what most of my prayers for the day look like.  Until yesterday. 

Yesterday, I ran across Psalm 139 and realized how, although I pray every day for my kids, I believe in my kids, I still looked at autism as something inflicted upon Ryan... as something that, I don't know, maybe some outside source caused.  Not a believer in the conspiracy theories of what causes autism, one would wonder why this never occurred to me before.  Psalm 139 applies to Ryan.  I know, I know... we knew that.  I tell my kids all the time that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and that God made them special and loves them very much (thank you, Bob and Larry). 

So now, instead of praying that I can simply handle the fits, the meltdowns (and there is a difference), the fears, the impulses, the triggers... I promise you that I am praying that God will help me get to know Ryan... to ENJOY him, not survive him.  Help me go back to that precious, peaceful first night of his life outside his mommy.  God knows Ryan.  He knows when Ryan "sits down and rises up," and He "discerns his thoughts from afar".  He knows what Ryan is thinking!  All this time I've been whining and crying and broken hearted over no one knowing what he's thinking... but God does!  God does, and I want to.  Hmm.  What to do? 

ASK, for cryin' in a bucket!  ASK!  I've said before in other times that one of the biggest lessons I've learned from my son about God is that He, as our Father, just wants to visit with us.  To know what we think, feel, and desire... to hear it from US.  To hear our voices cry out to Him in excitement and in fear, in joy and in hopelessness, in desperation and in times of plenty.  Instead of praying to survive, I'm going to start praying for God to help me know and enjoy my children... especially the one who doesn't communicate so much.  So if you'll allow me a little poetic liscence...

Psalm 139:1-10 (ESV... with Mama paraphrasing)
1O LORD, you have searched Ryan and know him!
2You know when he sits down and when he rises up;
you discern his thoughts from afar.
3You search out Ryan's path and his lying down
and are acquainted with all his ways.
4Even before a word is on Ryan's tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5You hem Ryan in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon him.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7Where shall Ryan go from your Spirit?
Or where shall he flee from your presence?
8 If Ryan ascends to heaven, you are there!
 If he makes his bed in Sheol, you are there!
9If Ryan takes the wings of the morning
and dwells in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10even there your hand shall lead him,
and your right hand shall hold him.

God made Ryan and knows him far better than I do.  He was there that rainy night in Denton, and he's here with us every day.  He's with Ryan at school, on the playground, and in Sunday school.  In ways I cannot, He can comfort Ryan, Richie, Maelynn... and me.  Last night as I was surfing around on the various sites I visit, I found a link to this song.  It's by Sara Groves, and I looked it up on Grooveshark (click and you can listen free) and sat and listened over and over as the tears fell because it hits home so accurately.  It's Going to Be Alright... and it really is.  Maybe it won't always feel that way.  I can assure you it won't feel that way.  There will be rough times, but I'll keep doing my best, seeking the Lord's help, and it's going to be alright.  Not just for me... but for you, too, in whatever it is that I can't understand. 

"It's Going to Be Alright"

By Sara Groves and Gordon Kennedy
It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

I can tell by your eyes that you're not getting any sleep
And you try to rise above it, but feel you're sinking in too deep
Oh, oh I believe, I believe that

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

I believe you'll outlive this pain in you heart
And you'll gain such a strength from what is tearing you apart
Oh, oh I believe I believe that

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

When some time has past us, and the story if retold
It will mirror the strength and the courage in your soul

Oh, oh, I believe I believe,
I believe
I believe

I did not come here to offer you cliché's
I will not pretend to know of all your pain
Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith, for you

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

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