Saturday, September 1, 2012

To Ryan

It's late.  You're all asleep after an exhausting day, but rest eludes me.  I never sleep well without your father beside me, although I slept without him for nearly twenty-four years.  There is something calm and completing about his presence... and there's something about staying up to keep the lights on for him that comes from my romantic and loyal side.

I've run out of quiet things to do.  The laundry sits on pause, as do the dishes and so many other rattly, clanky, even remotely noisy things I need to do.  I actually thought of trying to let you stay awake just to hang out.  Just for the companionship of my little guy... but there I go again.

Who I was as a child is not you.

You are much more complex than I, yet more simple.  No, streamlined.  Intelligent, though the lion's share of your genius remains under lock and key, a treasure to be continually discovered.  No, staying up too late would not be the comfort it was to me as a young girl.  Falling asleep to the hum of the television and the occasional slight bumps of my mother in her night-owl projects is likely not the gift to you it was to me.

I've tried, and you put yourself to bed on the couch.  No complaining, no whining, no pleas to stay up later.  Every time I've tried I've glanced up at some point or another to discover your sweet face, glasses still crookedly hanging on your nose as they smash against the couch pillow, snoozing peacefully in time with your own internal clock.

There are times I wish I was more like you.  Inhibitionless, you laugh and cry and display whatever colors exist in your heart's palette, while I am influenced by the opinions that surround.  Your brother and sister are still somewhat like this, but even they have become shy around strangers and embarrassed when I begin to get a little too silly for their taste.

So often my feelings about what we do to make your life all it can be remain in limbo.  I never feel settled, like we're doing the right things, and I never feel we're doing enough.  I suppose it's as though I should never rest.  Never turn off the lights, lock up, and go to sleep.  Always stay awake, seeking, searching, ready to take the next dimly lit step.

There are times I wonder if you feel that anxiety.  I wonder if you feel not only the love we have for you, but the pain and frustration when we see you suffering the same.  I wonder what you think we're doing when we take you to ABA week after week, only to stop for two weeks, then start again with someone completely different.  I wonder if you know that everyone around you went from kindergarten to first grade, and that's just the next step, not something we've invented to drive you mad.

Sometimes I wish I could just have a tiny window, say once a week, to talk you when you could share your heart.  To tell me what is working for you and what isn't.  To explain just once why you hit yourself so hard... why you scream... so I could maybe shed a little light and help, or even just not do that anymore.  So often the world seems so much more frightening than wonderful to you.

Sometimes I wonder if you really need me.  I mean, like I need my mom.  When Richie had surgery recently, more than anything I just needed her to be there.  Just be there.

Then there are times that I know you do.

You tumbled out of a fit-riddled therapy session today, first with your new ABA masters student, and fell red-faced on my shoulder, as if to desperately whisper:

"I need you, mom.  Things are different and I'm scared and I need you."  

I remember holding you as a newborn in the wee hours in that hospital room, rain splashing on the window, praying that God would make you who He wants you to be, amazed at who you were then.  I should have been praying that I could rise to who He expected you to be.

While I would not have signed up for you to be autistic, I couldn't separate it from who you are.  When they diagnosed you, they diagnosed your personality.  Your behaviors.  Your reactions or lack thereof. So to say I wish you weren't... anything... would be to say I wish you weren't you.  Would it?  I wish you could tell me.

At your baptism meeting, I told our pastor that words couldn't express what you have taught me... about me, about you, about people, about God... and that is the absolute truth.  Being your mom has made me a better everything.  Better wife, mother, child, friend, child of God... a better everything.

Yes, I wonder what's in there.  I wonder if you really need me sometimes.  But then I catch your eye, if even for the briefest of moments, and I don't see autism.  I don't see a band director's kid.  I don't see another ARD, IEP, or BIP.

I see my son.

And in those precious, delicate, God-given moments, I know that I have to do what I can today.  Plan for tomorrow, but live and enjoy and work and play to the fullest today.  Do what is before me to make our lives all they were meant to be now, and not bog down in lament the things we couldn't do, the therapies we can't get, the times we've failed you.

I thought I'd raise you.  I had no idea how much and in how many ways raising you would raise me.  

And I cannot tell you how grateful I am to the Lord for placing you in my arms.

Thanks be to God for His providence and abiding love.

And for Ryan.

1 comment:

  1. So beautiful! Love when you said that raising him would help raise you. :)


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