Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quittin' time... part 1

Aaaand I'm alive.  This fall (if you can call it that in central Texas) has been fabulous, just very busy.  Somewhere between my crafty-time, trying to get the house decorated and settled for real (I'm so not a decorator), keeping up with driving to therapy, church, all the stuff that's important to our family and still managing to be able to keep the daily stuff like dishes and laundry done is keeping us so busy.  I won't even go into how exciting football marching season is for us... well, let's just say we're busy but happy.

Somewhere in all the excitement last week, I was taking time for one of my favorite mama treats, our ladies' bible study here in town.  Discussion had just ended and we had just settled into our chairs after singing for a few minutes when my phone rang.  I picked up my phone and tried to make my way out of the room, my hunched-over shadow taking off poor Beth Moore's legs on the screen.  Sneaking into the church library I answered. It was our diagnostician.

If you've been in our situation or something similar, you know how your heart can drop when it's not time for a yearly ARD meeting and the diagnostician's number is on the screen.  Usually it's not great news when she's contacting me, and I had that sinking feeling in my gut that says there's something up.

Hate it when I'm right.

She was gentle and sweet and calm, but there's no good way to deliver it.  "Mrs. Senzig, I just wanted to let you know that as of yesterday at lunch *Ryan's aid* has resigned."  After that it was just kinda emotional freefall.  I don't generally go nuts over these things.  I manage to sing my version of that Veggie classic "God is Bigger than the Boogieman" in my heart, and it's eventually all okay.  I managed to be all business on the phone, using my version of what we affectionately called Nanny's "Tupperware Queen" voice, but I was dying.  Seriously?  She really decided she couldn't do it?  I was surprised, frustrated, upset, sad, nervous... and just flat hurt that dealing with my kid wasn't possible.  Not at her.  I am so thankful that she knew her limits.  I like her, I really do.  I know she cared about him, I know she was good to him and wanted the best for him.  But a lack of training is hard to overcome when you're thrown into the deep end of the Autism pool on your first day.  She had managed to rally and we were all proud of her for that, but in the end it just wasn't something she could keep doing.  And that's okay.  Really.  We're thankful for the time she spent with him, the effort she spent, the heart she spent.

So after she promised they would keep looking for an aid, told me that I'd need to bring Ryan just a little later to school so that he'd be with his class when he showed up (long story), and assured me that he was safe with a temp aid for the next two days I hung up and went back to class.  I did pretty well, listening and keeping up with Miss Beth on the screen.  Then I told my friend Melanie, who was right beside me, who then suggested I tell the rest of the ladies so they could be praying.  Actually, she volunteered to do it for me, and (being me) I said I'd manage.  Right as I explained that I knew exactly what was hard and why because she basically was doing my job, I told them I could understand why she wanted to quit, because sometimes I do too.  And as those words left my lips, I crumbled into a pile.

If you've never experienced a group of people who sincerely love you around you, crying with you and praying for you, I hope you get the chance.  Attention is not my favorite thing, especially with a tear and snot-soaked face, blubbering with all I've got.  But there I was, humanity all over my face, exhausted, enrobed in the hands and hugs of women of faith.

They like to call us "Warrior Moms" at times.  Most days I wouldn't call myself that.  I don't deserve that.  I'm not petitioning anyone for the cause, not knocking on doors or breaking down huge walls in the area of advocacy.  I'm not one of the scientists searching for a prevention or a behaviorist studying a new way to help these sweet ones figure out this crazy world.  I'm just a mom.

Just a mom.

Just a mom who loves her children and wants the... no, God's... best for them.  Just a mom who would do anything needed for her kids.  Just another mom who keeps the sword and shield up on one side with the game face on, and usually manages to polish the shield and smile with the other hand in a somewhat futile attempt to keep our family going.  Fighting Autism's symptoms while at the same time attempting to help our family learn to act in a way that is palatable to society as a whole.  All this without losing who we are as a married couple, plus laundry, dishes, social planning (anything social takes a ton of it), potty training, keeping up with all the usual homemaker stuff, and what?  I'm supposed to look like a human when I step out of the house?

Yep, just a mom.

And there are millions of us.  Being the warriors our family needs.  But for every time someone's called us "supermom" there are about a hundred times we feel inadequate.  Frustrated.  Hopeless.  Tired.  Weary.  But that moment of losing it... that moment where the cracks in the armor show and all the frustration, fear, and weariness pour from the floodgates... is the very moment when God shows who He is.  It's when we get to see that those people who say hello and ask how we are every Wednesday really do care how we are.  It's that little reminder that although people may never really get it, there are those who are cheering for us, whether or not they get the ins and outs of our struggles.  In our weakness, in that proof of our humanity, the world gets a little glimpse into what God is made of.  That He can do this through me?  ME?  Weak, tired, horrible at confrontation, recovering people-pleaser me?  Me who can't stop being selfish and at times lazy and impatient, sometimes all at the same time?

Yup.  In my weaknesses, He is strong.  He will not leave me stranded, even in my darkest times.  ESPECIALLY not in my darkest times.

Deep inside this Warrior Mom's armor is a scared, weary child who is tired and needs a hug.  And even when you wear as much armor as Autism Warrior Moms, sometimes it's that feather on the 2-ton barbell that sends us crashing to through the floor.  Sometimes something catches us so off guard that the armor falls and we need friends to help pick it up and put it back on... and sometimes hold it up for us.  Just for a little while.  Because even when your whole life and philosophy for living is grounded in the belief that God is sovereign, life can just be too much.

The story doesn't end there... stay tuned for part 2.  In the meantime, have a listen. :-)

The Warrior is a Child
~Twila Paris

Lately I've been winning battles left and right 
But even winners can get wounded in the fight 
People say that I'm amazing 
Strong beyond my years 
But they don't see inside of me 
I'm hiding all the tears

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down 
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around 
I drop my sword and cry for just a while 
'Cause deep inside this armor 
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because His armor is the best 
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest 
People say that I'm amazing 
Never face retreat 
But they don't see the enemies 
That lay me at His feet

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down 
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around 
I drop my sword and and cry for just a while 
'Cause deep inside this armor 
the warrior is a child

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down 
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around 
I drop my sword and look up for a smile 
'Cause deep inside this armor 
Deep inside this armor 
Deep inside this armor 
The Warrior is a Child

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