Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Tale of the Wrong Brush

This summer, I got stupid... er, I mean brave (such a fine line) and decided that I wanted to bite the bullet and start really making our new house ours.  I've never had the privilege of painting a dwelling any color I want.  After helping Mom paint at her house, and having visited a few times since then, it hit me on the way back... it's time.  So after gathering supplies, gumption, and a game plan to keep the kids happy I hit it.  Mae's room was one of the first.  It's "fresh pink lemonade" and "quaint purple".  The boys' room isn't yet begun, but their only suggestion when I asked what color was "Thomas" and that was from Richie.  "bolt of blue lightning" was the closest.  The bathroom is the shades closest to the ones Mom had that I could find... "morning rain" and "King Neptune blue".  The day I was painting the bathroom, I'd just opened the "morning rain" and was refilling the paint tray when I had to get up and walk away for a second.  After talking to Eric for a minute and taking care of whatever it was, I looked around. 

Where's Maelynn?! 

Eric went to the bathroom and flipped.  She had taken the only brush she could find, dunked it in the paint can *all the way to the bottom* and was about to start slingin' when Daddy arrived!  You could tell she wanted to help.  "Okay, gonna help Mommy paint.  There's the paint, now where's a brush... brush... hmm... there's a brush!"  *dunk*

I laughed till I cried, took a picture with my phone and sent it to my Mom, knowing she'd love it.  And she did.  It wasn't a major cleanup effort.  She didn't even get any on herself!  That's my girl!

That's how it goes, though.  When Ryan starts screaming, hitting himself, won't eat, starts crying, or saying something we can't understand, we try something.  We look around for the nearest thing that looks like it will help, be it favorite toy, movie, or something much bigger like therapy, rethinking the plan, redoing the whole plan, throwing the plan out and staring over, blah blah blah... and we do this all day long.  That looks like it'll work... only to see either no results, some results, or have it backfire and make it all worse. 

Honestly, with trying to guide Ryan lately, I feel like I have no idea.  I'm grasping at straws, groping in the dark with thick gloves on, desperate for something to work.  But what do you do?  We worked so hard on asking for things.  We are so proud that he's better at that!  Once you learn what a few things mean to him, like "pack your swimsuit" means "can we go swimming?" and just he fact that he does have some pronoun trouble, you can figure out what he wants.  Problem, you ask?

 What happens when the answer is no?  What happens when you can't take him swimming?  What happens when he wants to "go to the hotel" or "to the carousel" (his term for Morgan's Wonderland) or to Waco or to see Granny or Grammy and Grampy, and he wants it NOW?  WHAT DO YOU DO?  My child, my dear, precious, sweet baby that I held, nursed, rocked, cared for, and nurtured since the day he was born screams till a vein pops out on his neck and beats his chest and head!  He makes sounds I can't describe... gutteral, screamy-squealy-growley noises that sound like a posessed pig.  I cannot describe the sheer torment on his face.  Sometimes all because I said no... often for no detectable reason. No, we do not just give him what he wants... really.  I just can't describe it.

Just today I was on a chair (don't judge... I know... I have a ladder, and it's in the carport closet) painting in the kitchen.  The littles were asleep, and Ryan was watching "elevator Toy Story" (Toy Story 2).  Out of the silence he makes himself known wordlessly yet unmistakably, with one of his angry sounds.  Nothing that I can tell is wrong.  He sounded like he should be, but he was not bleeding. I want to know how to help.  He had his glasses on, he had his shoes on and they were fine... I went down the list and all was well.  After emphatically asking... pleading... with him to tell me what's wrong, stop screaming, something like that, two minutes later he's at it again.  This time he woke his sister as he entered a meltdown that ended with me face in hands, falling completely apart into tears. 

Then he walked over, stretched out his arms, hugged me... not backed up to me... HUGGED me, laying his head on my shoulder, arms around me, saying, "It's okay.  It's alright."  Over and over, while I cried and apologized for being so bad at this, he told me "It's okay. It's alright."  I think he even said "Mommy" in there too. 

A few days ago I read on another mommy blog a song I'd been listening to over and over, and hadn't thought of applying it to our situation.  When I read it, I thought about it as she used it... they are waiting on her little girl to learn to speak.  I thought of it that way, too, as applied to us.  But tonight, as I consider the paintbrush story and Ryan's comfort, I realize I was wrong.  I was thinking it's Eric and I who are waiting on Ryan to "work it out"... when in reality, he's being patient with us.
Oh love wash over a multitude of things
Love wash over a multitude of things
Love wash over a multitude of things
Make us whole

There is a love that never fails
There is a healing that always prevails
There is a hope that whispers a vow
A promise to stay while we're working it out
So come with your love and wash over us
(When it was Over by Sara Groves)
Thank you, Ryan, for being Jesus with skin on to mommy today.  Thank you for always loving me no matter how clueless and frustrated I am.  Just like I promised tonight, I will always keep trying to be a better mommy for you.  Thank you, Lord, for new mercies, Your grace, and its sufficiency for my utter inadequacies... and for making me whole.  Thank you, thank you, again and again... You are amazing!

(in case you want to hear the song...)


  1. Hi! I saw your comment over on 'a diary' and had to stop by and say hello! Your kids are SO adorable! Our family is the same, only 4 years earlier: princes and a princess. It is our firstborn who falls 'on spectrum' that we only found out about last spring. We are missionaries overseas in Central Africa, but come from the West Coast. Nice to meet you! Hang in there. Hugs from Africa. =)

  2. btw, LOVE everything Sara Groves!


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