Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Cards

Wow... what a fabulous Mother's Day weekend was had by all in this family!  I feel completely spoiled rotten.  To cap off a wonderful weekend, Eric and the other guy in our small group (it really is a "small" group... tee-hee) made dinner last night AND did all the dishes from the weekend.  Yep, I dropped that ball bigtime this weekend... we had a great time running around and enjoying each other and I didn't log much time in front of the sink.  Due to a generous gift from a fabulous couple, we took the kids to the Mayborn Museum in Waco and had a blast... there will be a post and pictures from that later.

But the best parts of my Mother's Day were the encouragement that overflowed from my dear family and friends.  Especially from my dear Eric and my Mama.  All of you who commented, hugged, or hit the "like" button, or shared the page so that the news that we're not alone might reach one more person, thank you from the depths of my soul. 

Can't lie... Mother's Day is important to me, but the most important part is getting to be with my kids in church.  Looking in the rearview mirror (the kid one... you know, the kind that hangs below the actual rearview mirror, revealing who's poking who in the backseat) as we crossed the railroad tracks during the three minute drive to church, my heart was struck with amazement at the kids.  "Look at my babies!" I said to Eric.  One of the few delicious moments of normalcy in our lives.  All three kids, dressed for church.  Ryan, with his striped blue dress shirt and khakis and huge blue eyes; Richie, in his plaid blue, green and white shirt and khakis with golden curls swept to the back of his head; Maelynn, in her brown and pink dress with little brown fountain pigtails spouting from her sweet head. Many times I'm shocked for a moment that I have it all... the house on the corner with a giant tree in the front yard, two boys and a girl, not to mention the best husband ever to stand at the altar.  Yep, folks... even with the challenges, it's a fairy tale. After all, we all know that every fairy tale has a villain of a sort.  There's a great challenge for some mama or daddy who can draw... a cartoon representation of the villain of autism.  If only there were magic words.   But I digress.

Once we were at church, we did the usual divide and conquer.  Eric took Ryan to Sunday school through the south door so we could avoid walking by the nursery and room with a train table.  Ryan knows he doesn't want to go to the nursery, and can at times decide to pitch a fit when we walk by and stop to take the littles.  That or he'll run on by himself.  Either way, not the best option.  I take the littles to the door halway to the other end of the building.  We always meet back at the van, where I get my precious coffee from the cupholder, and grab our bibles and my purse, then head to Sunday school for us.  This is the one time during the week we can walk hand-in-hand, not concerned with playing "whack a mole" (my affectionate term for trying to herd the kids) and we love it. 

A little over halfway through class, one of our teacher's/friend's kids came in, having been let out early himself.  No biggie, he's a sweetie and just wanted to check in to go to the playground.  Cool.  Not five minutes later, here he comes, same little guy, this time with a message.  "Mrs. Senzig, Ryan's stuck in a swing."  He reported just as sweetly and calmly as one could... actually, the media could use some guys like him.  So I hop up and go to the rescue. 

Ryan has a thing about the baby swings.  They're comfortable, and they're routine.  One of those things, like Elmo and the Baby Einstein "Meet the Orchestra" video, we can't seem to outgrow.  He'd managed to get into a swing, and from what I heard, didn't want to get out, not that I'm sure he could if he'd tried.  So I lifted my nearly six-year-old boy, and his sweet teacher wrested his feet from the leg-holes.  He was throwing a pretty good fit, too, so I just decided to take him with me.  After a little yelling from his perch on my hip, Ryan chilled out as much as Ryan chills out, and we made our way to Mommy and Daddy's class.  He sat on my lap and snuggled, and since there wasn't much to check out in the room, he was pretty calm.  We finished our lesson and made it to church, talking outside the Sunday school room a lot less than usual to keep him moving and calm.  Being a southern mama, I want my kids to be polite, thank you ma'am... so I encourage him to say "hi" to the people we meet and especially those who say hi to him. 

Guess I asked him to say "hi" just once too much, because as we entered the sanctuary and I asked him to say "Hi" again, Ryan began to scream, "SAY HIIII!!!! SAY HIIII!!!"  over and over.  Really loud.  Our poor interim pastor had to address the congregation a couple of times, I think... can't say for sure, because like I said, I had Mr. Don't-make-me-say-hi-one-more-time at the end of my arm.  I ducked my head down, tried to smile at the people who made eye contact (whether or not they smiled back) and made my way to our seat.  Once seated, the fit continued for a minute, but if I can stay calm there's a much better chance he'll regain his composure.  This time it worked.  I asked if he'd like to snuggle mommy, and he replied "snuggle mommy", so he laid his head on my lap.  He was minimally noisy, and as long as I remained seated while everyone else stood for singing, etc., he was pretty great.  I was able to worship, stroking his little buzz-cut head all the way through the song part of the service.  I was internally doing cartwheels!  Maybe the change in routine wouldn't hurt that much!  Maybe the fits due to the change wouldn't tank us today!  Take that, autism! 

For the special music, a lady in the church sang a song I'd never heard, and it was obviously themed for Mother's Day.  It was too perfect, and I had to google it so I could share it with you.

You Cannot Lose My Love
-Sara Groves

You will lose your baby teeth.
At times, you'll lose your faith in me.
You will lose a lot of things,

But you cannot lose my love.

You may lose your appetite,
Your guiding sense of wrong and right.
You may lose your will to fight,

But you cannot lose my love.

You will lose your confidence.
In times of trial, your common sense.
You may lose your innocence,

But you cannot lose my love.

Many things can be misplaced;
Your very memories be erased.
No matter what the time or space,
You cannot lose my love.

You cannot lose,

You cannot lose,

You cannot lose my love.

To Ryan, Richie, and Maelynn... I tell you now what I told your aunt Bree when she was little... you can't do anything that could make me stop loving you. 

That's not an uncommon theme among mothers.  I think all of us would agree with every word!  But as I listened, with my special Ryan in my lap, the tears poured.  Parents with special needs kids, I think we can all agree that...

They may not be potty trained,
Not much we say may be retained,
Though meltdowns our strength, they drain...

They'll never lose our love. 

Though they may not fit the mold,
Others, our parenting, they'll question and scold,
Though they can't tell us if they're hungry, scared, or cold,

They'll never lose our love.

Though they may stim and hum,
They might scream till our ears are numb,
We may have to argue that they're not "dumb",

They'll never lose our love.

We may live in total lockdown,
Our stomachs may churn as we drive to town,
They might pound their heads on the ground,

But they'll never lose our love. 

See, no matter where he fits or doesn't, no matter how many things I choose to stay home from to avoid trauma to all of us, no matter whether he makes it in Kindergarten next year, no matter where he's accepted or where he's not, he is accepted here.  He is accepted in our home and our hearts.  Just like I speak to all the kids every night, Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a plan and purpose for our lives!  Not "just typically-abled kids" or "kids who look like everyone else".  Not just the people who strive to fit in and lose themselves in the pursuit of acceptance on this earth... EVERYONE. 

Special needs parents... we don't always realize *ourselves* what we do.  How different and hard it can be.  I've fought against letting myself believe this, but I think it's because I was scared to think about it... as in, if I think about it, I'll start feeling sorry, then what's going to happen?  So in the pursuit of not feeling sorry, I took it a step too far and began to run a wee bit too far in the other direction.  I'm normal!  See?  I'm normal! 


No, I'm not, and my life isn't, either.  I have to realize that, and deal with it. 

Deal with it? 

Yep, play the cards.  Not just hide them.  From what I remember about playing "Pitch" with Nanny, Grandad, and Pop, Nanny's dad, it doesn't do you any good toward winning the game if you just keep everyone from seeing your cards.  You have cards in your hand, and to have even a chance at winning, you have to PLAY THEM.  Not just throw them on the table in a huff.  Think through it, paying attention to what's played and what your partner has played.  To use them to your advantage, you must take a good look at what you have and make a plan.  And that plan only lasts as long as the hand lasts, then you get another one.  You may have to change strategies, looking at the changes in what you're dealt with every hand.  Which reminds me of Nanny and Grandad... when they got a hand they didn't like, they'd often say "Who dealt this mess?!"   But often, the next hand would be perfect.  But to get to the next hand, you have to play through the "mess". 

And when you look at the "mess" versus the perfect hands... or even the ones that just work out... it's going to be better than alright.  It's going to be God's best.  As long as I look to him for the next step, the next card to play and how to play it, it's going to be God's best.  Hang in there with me, y'all.  We have to keep praying for each other and our kids, and waking up every day asking desperately for the wisdom, patience, and faith to live our lives today, not let them live us.  There may be only one hand dealt in the day, but too often there are several. 

That church service I was talking about?  Yeah, Ryan got into the floor, then hit his head a couple of times, causing him to fuss... so we wound up walking out to the foyer to wait out the sermon.  But after it was over, we had the rare treat of going to Mother's Day lunch with a couple of friends and their kids that we never get to see.  And the rest of the day was just wonderful.  If I'd tossed my cards on the table and told it all where to go when Ryan walked in screaming, I'd have missed that song.  If I'd let embarrassment get the best of me and left in a huff when the fussing started, I'd have missed the two girls just a touch older than Ryan coming out of the balcony and doing their best to visit with him, begging me to let them entertain him till the end.

Yep, the great hands I'm dealt far outweigh the cruddy ones. But if I choose to forget that, I'll forfeit my turn, and lose.

And for my babies, that's simply not acceptable.

Keep playing. 


  1. Hi there...I wanted to tell you how moved I am by your blog. I happened to click on you via a post on A Diary of a Mom (like to check out different blogs). I too am a Christian mom of a boy with autism who is 3 1/2 (my grown brother also has autism). Your words and insights really spoke to me last night when I was reading. Thanks so much for sharing your heart. If you ever want to check out my blog it's at
    I look forward to checking out your blog again soon!

  2. Thank you, Deb! Your comment is an answer to prayer, and I just checked out your blog, and it is, too. I enjoyed your latest post about watching this happen... like it's a movie... and I have to agree. I so appreciate your comment. Really needed that today. :-)


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