Ryan gave be a suh-weet end of school present today! When I turned off the main drag onto the street that takes us home, he didn't scream!
We started taking Ryan to the Baylor Center for Autism in Feburary, where Miss Staci worked with him once a week for an hour. He was either crazy about her, or her iphone, or the attention solely on him for a whole hour, we're not sure. But what I do know is that he asks to "go see Miss Staci" about fifty times a day, if not more. He asks his teacher at school and the aids over and over. Every day when I pick him up he asks to go see Miss Staci. I tell him that we're going home to enjoy our house and each other, go outside, watch Thomas, whatever... but nothing doing. Lots of times he's screaming all the way into the backseat of the van. When I climb in through the back to buckle his seatbelt, I usually can get him to chill out... at least stop yelling. Even if he's totally calm, by the time I get reach the place where we either turn left to go to Waco or right to go home, Ryan has a little fit when I turn right. He yells from the backseat "M'STAA STAA STAA STAA STAA Stuuuuh" which is his way of saying "MISS STACI!" over and over.
For months, he's done this. Ryan doesn't understand the concept of the semester ending, Miss Staci getting a break, or graduating. I've attempted to explain time and time again that Miss Staci probably went to see her mama too, since school's out. I'm a big believer in not saying the word "no" all the time, and finding positive alternative ways to say "no". But when I say "later", I'm half lying. If I say "not right now, " I'm essentially saying later. He has asked so many times just today, just since noon. Matter of fact, it was the first thing he said to me this morning. Then, of course, there's the ride home from school. I tried when we were actually going to see the beloved therapist to let him sit up front (in a booster, with the seatbelt, no airbag... don't judge) only when we were going to Waco. If we were going home, he got in the back. For Ryan, riding up front is HUGE. I always had a snack ready, the same thing... a cereal bar and a juice pouch. If we were going home, he just got in the back and I buckled him in, as usual. I thought all this might make it extra cool, and help him separate regular class days from therapy days.
Instead, they just helped him know immediately that he wasn't going where he wanted. Expedited the whole process! Why wait? Start screaming as soon as you see the side door of the van open! Thanks Mom! You think of everything.
So, for a few months, every day he gets upset at the same intersection. I brace myself as I round the corner, even remind him again where we're going. Even Richie says "Issok, Wyan! Shhh!" as helpfully and caring as a toddler can. When I lose myself in thought about the evening, which happens, he nearly shocks me out of my skin. Even though I know it's coming! Then I feel extra dumb for being shocked.
But today? Today we rounded the corner on the last day of school, and...
No worries, though... by the time we got home and he was getting out of the van (which can take forever), he was asking for Miss Staci again. "You want to go see Miss Staci!" he says. "Sorry, buddy. Miss Staci isn't working today. But I am very proud of you for the great day you've had, and we're gonna go in and watch Nemo."
Then he proceeded to bug me about going to see Miss Staci until bedtime. No goodnight, no nothin' but Miss Staci.
Don't get me wrong... I am fully aware of how blessed we are to have therapy we can afford, and with a qualified, super-sweet and caring individual who really loves Ryan and thinks he's awesome! Yet again, the Lord has met our needs! To tell the truth, a lot of the reason it's hard to listen to him ask over and over is that I can't give him Miss Staci all the time. I can guarantee that I will work our budget to where we can go, and will keep our schedule to where we can make all his appointments. I can set him up for success, carrying him to, through, and off the elevator. I can listen to what she's doing so I can reinforce at home. But I can't take him to Waco to see Miss Staci every time he wants to go. Even if I could, I shouldn't just give him what he wants all the time, just like we can't give him other things he wants all the time. The thing that bothers me the most, though, isn't that.
No, the thing that bothers me is that I wish he was asking for me.
On the rare occasions Ryan has asked for me, you couldn't have kept us apart with razor wire, dynamite, rabid dogs, anything. My boy asks for me? My boy gets me. He asks to snuggle me every night when it's time for bed, which is his way of saying "I wish you were rocking me instead of my sister" and he gets to weasel in around her for a quick snuggle-huggle before bed. Doesn't he know I know him better? Doesn't he know I've been there for him all his life? I'd give up anything for my kids. Doesn't he know that? Haven't I shown that? Well, yes, and I will continue. Because I know, also, that Ryan does love me, and it doesn't matter what he does or if he ever tells me he loves me again... he's still my boy, and I'm still his Mommy.
After all, isn't that what God does for us? We go about our lives every day, asking for this and that. Freaking smooth out about what this person said, that person thought. What everyone in public thinks about my parenting, my kids' behavior. I go through so much agony over this. Am I doing to little? Too much? What will they think if I go? If I don't?
And the whole time, He's thinking...
Doesn't she know I love her?
Doesn't she know I know her better than anyone?
Doesn't she know I've done everything for her? Given it all for her?
Doesn't she remember I've been there for her even before she was born?
He's likely wishing I'd stop worrying about and asking for the approval of people who don't matter. He's wishing I'd realize and rest in His love and provision. Because whatever happens successes, failures, pride, fears, no matter how many times I drop the ball, or look around instead of up for approval, I'm still His girl and He's still my Daddy.
And I'm so grateful.