This evening, as I was making dinner, Ryan was playing the cake maker app on the ipad. I'm still in amazement that God gave us one of those amazing little inventions... thanks again for the raffle Chops Percussion! Once the tamale-like concoction I served tonight was in the oven, releasing me from the kitchen I went to check the ol' Facebook and email, and after playing with Richie and Maelynn and talking to Eric for a bit, I turned to Ryan, who was standing next to me. To my utter astonishment, Ryan had found the "add text" part of the app and was using it to TYPE WORDS! Not coying them, not misspelling... typing words from his own memory. Holy cow. So I sat there urging him to type more... anything more... and he came up with his first word again, which was "van". Then he typed "value" and "red". I about fell over. About the time he finished "red", the timer on the oven went off, but I vowed to return to our little session.
So I dropped a ball... again. Dinner for the rest of the family was ready, but Ryan's beloved pepperoni pizza was still frozen solid and the oven was at the wrong temperature. *sigh* Eric asks from under a pile of giggling children, "What's ETA on dinner?" "About fifteen, dear." Thankfully, Ryan's favorite pizza is only about a dollar apiece, and they cook in ten minutes. Which is good, because when I say "favorite" I mean the only thing he will consistently eat, and sometimes he won't touch that (hence my amazement the other day when he ate THREE PLATES of nachoey-stuff. I'm still reeling!). To the table, everyone... finally! Richie comes tearing in the kitchen bubbling over with "Oh boy, FOOD!" Everyone sits down, and Richie looks and sees that brother has pizza, and he has tamale whatever. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say some whining and attitude-adjusting later, Richie was eating, but after everyone had left the table. Usually he doesn't care a button for what Ryan has, but tonight it was all-out war. Things were rather circusey, but on a normal level of strange for us as I cleaned the kitchen, then went in the living room. No sooner had I logged on to- I thought- start this entry, when I realize how quiet it is. The quiet had been masked by my Eric playing the piano, but when I get up and turn around, I see the picture above. My little butter queen. I had a soft stick of butter out on the table where I thought she couldn't get it, but she proved me wrong! Butter all over the place. My table is rather old, and now, it's rather moisturized. So I laughed, grabbed the camera, snapped a few shots, and began to clean her up. Once she was clean and down, a few minutes later, she came running through the living room in her diaper with red on her back! Eric said, "what happened to you.... wait, that looks like pizza sauce!" Richie, who had been told that he could not have pizza because he threw such a fit over eating at least half his dinner before he could have what he wanted, had nabbed a piece of pizza while I was cleaning Mae and had been chasing his sister with it... and pushing her with it. WHEE!
Best part of all this? We laughed it all off! I know!!!
Sometimes, as we all know, you just have to grab the camera. The mess is made, the carpet is ruined, the paint is spilled, the kids are a mess... the deed is done. You've been given a moment. What's left is what you choose to do with it. Yes, the butter is wasted. Yes, there's more work to do. And control? What's control?
An illusion, that's what. You want control? Not me. I am the queen of forgetting, messing up, and generally making messes. It seems that in the past nine months or so if it wasn't life or death or at least at the very tippy-top of the priority list, I messed it up. Who wants someone with a batting average like that in control? Not me, for sure. I'm too weak and wretched to be in control. Yep. Wimpy. Tired. Exhaused. Confused. On the other end, too silly, selfish, and distractable as a human to be in control without messing up the whole enchilada. Therefore, I am one of those people who really, truly believes with all her heart that God is in ultimate control. There is one, and He's on His side, which happens to be our side. So you hear me talk constantly on and on about praying for this, that and the other. I pray for our kids, I pray for Eric. I pray for my friends, my church, and my family. I pray when I'm sad, scared, happy, nervous, and overjoyed. I pray for things to happen all the time, or to not happen... and ultimately for God's will... and for my will to become like His.
So everything happens just like I ask for it to happen, right?
Because, as Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, I don't get it. I can't see what's ahead. I can't see what God has in store. I look at Ryan's new-found typing ability and celebrate, desperate for anything that looks like it may be a key that unlocks something in his mind and heart. But I can't see ahead to know what, if anything, will come of it! I have prayed for Ryan so long and hard... and for us as we care for him, and for his teachers, and for everyone and everything I can think of that comes in contact with him or might. But I have to trust that God will orchestrate the steps and lead all of us in the right directions.
Now don't get the wrong idea. When I say "trust" I do not mean "sit on my rear and do nothing". I cannot just live the way I want, ignoring my responsibilities as a parent, wife, believer, and even my moral responsibilities as a human being and expect to have God's best fall at my feet. I cannot eat everything I want, sit around and do nothing, and pray that my jeans will continue to fit. Oh sure, I can do that... but I can promise you that my clothes will not continue to fit. Nor do I believe in a works-based, put some in and take some out type of faith. My God, my Father, is not a Santa Claus-type fairy who recieves our requests, processes, and delivers. But there's this pesky little bugger called "stewardship".
To me, and you can pick apart my theology if you like, this means that I have to try. God made us and He knows what our bodies, minds, and hearts can do better than we do. At this point, I'm doing my best to fully embrace the life I have. Not the life I dreamed of, or the things I thought I'd be, or even the things I worked to be... but the things I HAVE. And I have a LOT. Yes, things aren't just the easiest they could be right now. Three small kids, one with special needs, two in diapers, on a teacher's salary, a husband still recovering from back surgery who can't bend, lift, or twist (including kids)... the list goes on, as I'm sure yours does. Most of these I've embraced with no problem. Seriously. Back surgery? Psscht. Small kids? Cute as lil' bugs! Tight budget? Cloth diapers don't scare me. It's the Autism part that, up to this point, has paralyzed me. Scared to death to do the wrong thing, no idea what the right thing is, no idea even what questions to ask, tired of explaining and making excuses for the seemingly-odd decisions we make, and sick to my stomach at the thought that I'm not doing everything I should. Yep, that about covers it.
Step by step, doctor by doctor, specialist by specialist, therapist by therapist, website by website, blog by blog, book by book we wade into the spectrum. At the beginning it's so hard. It seems like every step you take into the waters of understanding and education burn with the sting of reality. But the more you work through that burn... the more you reach out and take the information offered, even if you don't use it or it isn't right for you, the more you allow yourself to log onto that blog and read the differing opinions... eventually it's comforting. As I pour over autism websites searching for something that will help us, as I pray and listen and read and talk to others, the biggest thing I'm learning right now is that "trying" to me may not look like "trying" to you. As many of you know, we're working hard right now to strip down and redo ourselves in many ways, only adding back the things that make us who God wants us to be for the best of our family, which is to say, for His glory. Not all of it makes sense, not all of it is cutting-edge, and I bet very little of it will look like anyone else's sense of "best" or "normal". But it's my best, and who said I wanted to be normal? Certainly not me. I'm the crazy mama who ran to take a picture of the butter queen.
So do your thing. Do your best. Smile. Laugh. And above all, know that God is looking down at you doing your best, smiling and grabbing His camera... because you're doing your best and he's proud of you. Not because you're doing it all just right, but because you're His. And just as I cleaned up Maelynn's mess, forgave Richie the pizza, and celebrated with Ryan, He will meet you where you are... you just have to sincerely TRY.