Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Big News!

Pretty big news at our house.



Last night, Eric wanted a haircut.  Ryan and Richie needed haircuts.  Since I needed Eric to stay de-haired so he could give wash downs (when everything in your house is Thomas and Friends-ified, showers are wash downs).  Richie settled in for his haircut easily.  Those beautiful golden curls start to straighten a bit when the weather cools and dries, so he needed a trim.  He was great as usual, and his haircut was over in no time.

At our house, we just plop in the floor in front of me, and I cut their hair.  No stress, right?

Usually Ryan freaks out.  Shaking, crying, sweating, thrashing, uncontrollable meltdown.  He just can't handle it.  I've tried for years to figure out what exactly causes it, and have tried so many different things to make it easier that I've lost track.

The best we've done in the past is when he starts out reciting the haircut social story on the iPad, reminding himself the steps they teach in the story.  Still, he winds up holding his ears, crying, shaking, and screaming stimmy words like WAAWAAWAA by the time we're done.

This time something I've used in the past finally helped.  I asked if he'd like me to use the clippers or scissors, and he said, decisively, "scissors."

Okay, buddy.  Here we go.

Honestly, I was just hoping we could get through this without traumatizing him... again.  I was hoping I could get this done without accidentally taking an eye out or part of an ear!

First few cuts, no big deal.  He was quoting the social story, ad-libbing here and there.

He did cover his eyes a few times.

Eric came in to check on him because he couldn't believe that he was being so quiet.

He made it through the whole haircut.  THE.  WHOLE.  HAIRCUT.

He got up, walked around the corner to the kitchen, looked in the glass of the oven door, and said, "You like your haircut."  and "Good job, Mom."  Both in his newscaster voice, but no less heartfelt than any of us who understand pronouns and tone of voice.  

I want to say he's getting better, but that sounds like he was sick.  He isn't sick.  He needs help figuring out how to cope with things that feel different, sound louder, and everything seems to impact him more than it does you and me.  He is loving, sweet, smart, and funny.  He's everything and more I had always hoped my children would be.

They are all three gifts from God.  Gifts to my life, to my husband's life, and to our families' lives, not to mention the countless others they'll come across.

If you'd asked me ten years ago if all of us... and I mean ALL of our little family... would be happy dancing and nearly in tears over a haircut, I'd have either laughed or looked at you like you had lobsters crawling out your ears.

Thanks be to God for turning me inside out, upside down, and teaching me every day about real happiness, joy, and contentment.  I never would have signed up for some of these things... but I would not trade anything I've learned.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Well Played, Weather Change. Well Played.

We FINALLY got some cool weather in Texas.  It came just in time for our last home football game.  As you know, Ryan LOVES the high school football games.  From beginning to end, he hops, hums, and drums and yells "GO GOATS!" and "GO BIG RED!"  And this is the last one.

Did I mention it was the last home game?

Did I mention he begins begging the moment we leave to go again?

He's really into this.  So although a cool wind blew, switching to a cold wind, we herded the kids into the stadium and down by the band.  I had been in a big enough hurry to leave that I didn't think about how cold it might get.  It had been warmer earlier in the day.  The kids were all wearing two shirts and a lined jacket, so I thought we were good.

I should have known when drumming lost its luster that it was too cold to be there.  I should have known when, during halftime, he laid in the floor of the stands that we should head home.

We stayed long enough for halftime to be over, long enough for Maelynn to face-plant on the track, bloodying her lip, chin, and nose a bit, long enough that, when I asked Ryan at the beginning of the third quarter if we wanted to go home, he gave me a straight, clear, instant answer... YES.

By the time we got to the van, I think everyone was either crying or half-crying but Richie.  Richie was perfectly happy, chattering about what a great time he had playing with the other BDK's.  We did manage to get through the game with the matchbox "car treat" he got when we stopped to grab a few things at the store.

Once we were home, I was immediately kicking myself even harder.  Ryan was so cold he just wanted to go to bed, and didn't even drink his hot chocolate.  Maelynn and Richie wanted their jammies and beds, too.

The next day we had a big boy who barked like a seal and had a fever, a smaller boy who coughed until he threw up... four times, and a little girl who felt just fine.

So we didn't go to the downtown street carnival, we didn't go to church.  We just stayed home, rested, and did loads of pukey laundry.  Not exactly what I'd planned for the weekend.

Still, there were several good things about the weekend.  We all managed to get some rest and start the week ready to go.

Mom was here, making everything easier.  Six hands are much better than four!

Eric was home all weekend, and proved to be his usual all-star daddy self.

I've learned a couple of good lessons.  It's fine to go out of my way to make sure the kids get to do something they love when they only have this last chance for another year, but it's better to sacrifice a few minutes of game time to grab the blankets, gloves, hats, and scarves than to sacrifice every plan we had for the rest of the weekend.


It's true what they say about not knowing what you have till it's gone.  We are healthy and everyone went about their days today, but it's not fun to deal with illness.

And you know what?  After being home with sick kids all week, the dollar store in town is pretty entertaining, especially when your wonderful husband stays home and lets you go look around in them with your Mom.

Thanks be to God for healing and health, and for the contrast between good times and hard that helps us appreciate the good!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


A few minutes ago, as I'm scrambling to finish off toiletry needs of my two little ones, I shoo my youngest off to play.  Her brother had just gone to his room to play for a bit while I fixed their lunches. Of course, my little girl wanted to play with her big brother's room.

I hear a little boy voice gutturally growl and bark "No, Maelynn! Don't come in here!"

Immediately the strains of a broken heart pour from my girl.  I summon the growler, he steps into the kitchen rather cautiously.  He knew what he'd done was less than kind.  He knew I would find his actions unacceptable.

"Richie, do you get to play in Maelynn's room?"

"Yes."  By now, his curly-golden-crowned head hangs.

"You know that if you get to play in Maelynn's room, she gets to play with you, right?"


Right after I explained that I'd be glad to come get her if she were truly doing something wrong, he said, "I'm obeying slowly."

How true.  I want to say so badly that I'm obeying the things I know to be true and holding to the lines I know I should, too.  I want to say that I've got this, my sanctification is complete, and I have nothing left to learn.

But that's simply not true.  It never will be true.  Only in Heaven will our sanctification be made complete!

The same is true for my little ones.  I have to do a better job of remembering that they, like me, are obeying slowly.  They need grace and mercy from me, as well as to learn from me the grace and mercy of Christ.

Thanks be to God for his patience while I obey slowly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

He's Used to It

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” 
 ~C. S. Lewis

Yesterday was your typical Monday.  School for Ryan, cleaning up after the weekend for me in the morning while playing with and refereeing for Richie and Maelynn, then a trip to Waco to take big brother to ABA.  We had just finished our third library book and had gone into coloring when they tumbled up the stairs.

Usually, these brothers race ahead of mom.  The one who is there to work with one of the graduate students wasn't too thrilled to see that his therapist wasn't quite there yet.  Usually a kind, clean cut young man meets him with a smile.  This time, our Ms. C came out and told him that S wasn't here yet, and he'd have to wait.

He wasn't thrilled.  He did, however, knock on the door just as he usually knows he should.  About two seconds later, Mr. S came right up the hall, apologetic and ready to work.

Once his brother was in the room, the most energetic, vibrant young boy I've laid eyes on in years bubbled over with stories of the old phone his mom gave him and how he loves Scooby Doo and several other things I can't remember.  He was so friendly and sweet, how could anyone not be taken with his excitement with everything under the sun?

They usually go around the corner and sit where they won't bother us... or that's what I imagine is the reason.  Or maybe they just don't usually like dealing with people.  I can't help but hope they haven't decided to ditch community with the rest of the human race due to some sort of cruel experience.

Either way, this time they stayed over with us.  This little guy was so energetic!  I can't say that enough.  He pretty much runs everywhere he goes, says mom, and all evidence points to that.  After all, he led Richie and Maelynn up and down the hall, an activity I usually wouldn't allow.

They just loved this kid.  He seemed to enjoy them as well.  It wasn't until Ryan's exploding onto the scene that I realized why they had this instant connection.

As Ryan bounded from the BARC door, Ms. C trying to tell me how he did, RYan discovered the pail of small toys this other brother had brought.  Ryan was interested.  Definitely interested.  So interested, in fact, that he helped himself.  I spent the next few minutes scrambling around, trying to get this Lego ghost away from Ryan and back to its owner.

Then, as the other mom said, "He's used to it with his brother.  It's really okay!" I saw him dealing with my Ryan in with abundant patience and kindness.

A. Little.  Boy.

A little boy who had a stranger holding his toy and seemed ready to run off with it.

He was completely calm.  Maybe even calmer than he started!

There's a lot to be said for kindred spirits.  Common ground.  I can't help but think that, though they didn't discuss it, though their chatter was all about pets, toys, phones, pictures, and movies, they experienced a certain comfort; a certain safeness that comes from common ground.

So proud of my Richie and Maelynn, and of that great young boy outside the BARC. 

Thanks be to God for new friends. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Weekend

Ah, what a weekend!  When we got home from school, therapy was cancelled due to a Baylor holiday, so we had some outside time.  I know the picture isn't the best, but Ryan rode the glider with Maelynn for the first time, and even went slowly for her!

There was plenty of sunshine and lots of energy, so we ran around and slid down the slide, rode the cars and tricycle, and well, just ran around.  

When they got tired, we went inside and Ryan had iPad time.  He's been very sweet about letting his brother and sister crowd around and partake with him.  

We were planning to drive to the place where our best friends live... but you know what?  I was just tired.  Ryan had two field trip type days in a row, and I know he was tired.  We were to go to J's very last ever marching contest the next day to support she and our Daddy on Saturday morning.  So instead of driving to the game, we stayed home and had a pizza picnic movie night and went to bed on time.  The next day was this:

Can't forget to give e-props to by bestie.  She'd come to contest kid-free, and when she was through helping her husband's band, came to the stands to watch them, meet up with us, and watch our band.  Ah, the joy of seeing a familiar face in the crowd!  Soon as I spotted her, "look for empty seats" turned into "Go to M!" We even got to have lunch at the clown place with her.  

Seriously, folks.  Even a masking tape burger or compressed chicken parts is as good as a five star restaurant with the right company... and I had the right company.  So thankful for you, M!

Then we had a nice evening when Eric got home, complete with a nap for mommy and ordered-in Chinese!  After dinner, I made a dessert and corn muffins for our community group meeting Sunday and we crashed.  

Sunday was great too.  Ryan had a good day in CE, earning all his letters for iPad time at community group after church.  Talk about a gamble... but he rose to the occasion.  

The biggest blip in the weekend was my mistake.  I forgot a "juicy red sucker" for Ryan at church.  Usually, we follow the worship guide, marking off parts of the liturgy and other goings-on as we go until we get to page seven, when the sermon begins.  This is when Ryan knows he gets his sucker.  Instead, I tried making him wait to get to draw until then. 

Let's just say that even the smallest switch in routine is still hard.  But here he is, drawing his little men, robots, and the new addition... stairs.  

We then had a great time at our community group, once I stopped freaking out afraid that one of the kids would break something.  It's always interesting in a new place.

At one point, Ryan was playing with the iPad while we were visiting, and Richie and Maelynn were in the guest bedroom playing when I heard Ryan SCREAM for me.  HE CRIED OUT MY NAME!!!  Of course, I jumped up and ran over to him.  No idea what he wanted, other than maybe to make sure I was listening.  But when he hasn't yelled for you when you could hear him but maybe three or four times, you move when he does!

It was a great weekend.  Busy again, but great.  One of the greatest things is my newest "trick"... learning to decide when I've had enough and need to stay home.  That busy-ness isn't necessarily goodness.  It's hard for a long-term people-pleaser to do, but it's essential.  Much more so than I ever thought.

Even God rested on the seventh day.  Why would I assume I could do more?

I'm finding that in order to enjoy and do well the things I do, I have to choose carefully what I put on my plate.  In order to have the patience and caring to be who I need to be, especially for my family, there are times when I have to carve out time for us to be home, be together, and rest.  Sometimes these decisions aren't fun, and they mean having to choose something over something else... or even to choose rest over the fun thing.

So I'm back this week after laying myself off for a couple of days, hopefully having begun to learn a lesson I thought, rather foolishly, that I could avoid.

Thanks be to God for hanging with us, teaching us, and loving us while we learn.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

UP #844 and the Pumpkin Patch

I had another post started.  It wasn't half bad!  It's the one I had planned to do today.  But as I started work on it, there was something awesome that happened today that just wouldn't leave me alone.  So you can read the other post later.  This one's better anyway.

On the way to Waco after dropping Ryan then Richie at school this morning, my phone rang.  It was Ryan's resource teacher.  Immediately I waited to hear him scream in the background.  Or for her to tell me that he'd just tossed the lunch monkey.  Something that would make me turn around and have to forfeit my time discussing Deuteronomy with the ladies from church.  I mean, it's a really good book... and the discussion has been great.  So much fun.  Learning at this point in life is my favorite pastime.  And after this time, Maelynn and I go to get a little lunch and some groceries.  Just the two of us!  A little hen party.

Obviously, if there was something wrong, I would turn around and go back to school.  And believe it or not, all that thought about what in the world could be wrong went through my head in half a second. Hard to remember to be positive, but pessimism comes with lightning speed.

After a minute or so, I learned that Ryan was just fine (whew).  There was a field trip planned for this afternoon to walk the whole first grade across town to the pumpkin patch behind the Methodist church. His teacher promised that someone would be glued to him for the whole walk, and I trusted that she would keep that promise... it was the aid in the classroom who would do it... but there's always a chance someone would get sick or suddenly need to be gone.  That was my other concern.  But no, the pumpkin patch thing wasn't even in the ball park.

His sweet resource teacher told me that Union Pacific #844, a steam locomotive, was on track to stop in a town just north of us at noon, and would roll through our town later in the day.  There was no guarantee, however, that the train would make it on time.  It could be much later.  But I might be able to get back in time to see it go through town.  Maybe at least Richie and Maelynn could see.  Interrupting Ryan's school day on a field trip day would be less than good.  And, with the craziness of our family schedule, I need time ahead to plan when I will buy groceries if not on Thursday.

Thanking her profusely, I hung up wishing that I could make this happen.

Later in the afternoon, at a stoplight in a town on the way home, I Googled the website and found the train tracker.  There was no way I'd make it to town in time.  Then I actually prayed that God would allow my big boy to see this.  He would love it.  It would bless his heart so.

In a whirlwind of an hour and a half or two, I unpacked groceries, picked up Richie, took he and Maelynn on a trip to the pumpkin patch they'd begged for and I had promised, and went to get Ryan.

Ms. K brought him out, he climbed into the van, and she said, "Ryan, what did you see today?  Can you tell Mommy what you saw?"

Of course, he couldn't... he never does.  Something amazing has happened at school so many times... he's been on the Polar Express twice, and never said a word other than "I got the bus"... and we heard nothing.  We just had to trust that he had a great time.  Oh, his teachers would tell us, but he's not able to express himself that way.

Knowing he wasn't going to say anything, after giving him a chance, she first told me that he was great for the trip.  She held onto him, and he never offered to pull away.  Wonderful!

Then, she told me that he saw it.  My baby boy who loves trains more than anything in the world aside from his drumsticks, got to see the Union Pacific #844 roll through his hometown.  Built in 1944, this magnificent steam locomotive now travels the nation as Union Pacific's ambassador of goodwill.  As a girl who grew up admiring Kansas City Southern engines as a kid, and who got to climb all over a parked steam train at Queen Whilemena when camping with her grandparents growing up, I wanted to see it too!  But more than anything, I wanted my dear little guy to get the privilege.

From what Ms. K said, Ryan loved it.

It's the strangest feeling.  I'm so glad he got to see it.  But so sad at the same time that he can't tell me all about it.  He has rattled off "Did you see a locomotive?" a few times this afternoon, and every time I try to start a conversation about it, but conversation is just not something he's able to do right now.

I wish I'd seen what K pictured.  All the first grade blocking the street, jockeying for a peek.

Thanks be to God for Ryan's resource teacher, Ms. K, and his classroom teacher, who all love him and know him so well and go well out of their way to reach him.

And thanks definitely be in order to God for his perfect timing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Hard Question

One day about a year and a half ago... maybe two years, maybe two and a half... I sat while the kids were asleep in a sad, lonely, bottomed-out state in my living room while the kids slept.  This was when Ryan was at the age when the two-by-four of big-boyhood smacked me over the head daily.  He was no longer a baby.  The meltdowns were no longer at all remotely socially acceptable.  They were actually starting to be downright scary.

Everything was hard.  It wasn't just me.  It wasn't in my head.  It was hard.

I sat most days while the littles took their naps and Googled topic after topic, question after question, casting a wide net for any message in a bottle that might make me feel less crazy.  Less inept.  Less isolated.

Among the sites I've told you I visited, the one that began a remarkable paradigm shift in my life was not one of the bunches of mommy and daddy blogs I took in, not one of the autism sites, not one of the inspirational or bible-based sites.  It was a tweet.

Well, it might have been a few.  It was actually something that bothered me about one tweeter.

This Twitter user, exercising her right to free speech via internet, constantly made fun of "Christian moms'.  To say that she made fun of Christian moms is actually quite light.  The deep anger that fueled her barbs made an indelible mark on my heart.

Coupled with the situation I was in, those remarks changed my life.

You see, she was right in a lot of ways.  About me, anyway.  I have a habit of living life in my own little bubble.  I have a tendency to want to be around only people I agree with, only people I can relate to, only those I'm sure will agree with me.  Until that point, I'd been quite sure that this bubble would protect me, because it was the RIGHT thing.  It was good.  Good equaled God.  Right?


Those remarks would not leave me alone.  The venom in her speech would not leave me alone.  The hurt behind the venom would bothered me day and night.  You know why?

I wasn't sure I could defend my faith.  I wasn't sure I could say what I believed and why.  It rattled me so because it brought to light the insecurity that I worked so hard to hide.

So over the next months, through prayer, study, and wise counsel... and through the yanking of my comfy religion rug out from under me, the process began to seek then answers to that question.

What do we believe?

Why do we get up and go to church?

Why do I read my bible?

Why do I believe?

Some of my answers are overly simplistic.  I believe because I am compelled to believe.  It is a part of me that I cannot separate from anything in my life.  I can't not believe.  Oh, I don't always show it, and I will live the rest of my life learning more about God and about his character.  This is the way I like my life, it is the way I've found to be the best.  And I love it.

The next question on my mind was about the counsel.  See, there are an unlimited amount of websites, books, studies, pastors, teachers, preachers, the list goes on and on of folks who are, by the world's standards, qualified to tell us things.  But all of these people, no matter how famous, no matter how published, polished, and together they seem, are just people.  Well learned and respected, yes, they may be!  And we should give respect and credit where it is due.  But when you consider choosing the bricks to build your life's decisions, don't be afraid to ask questions.  Don't be afraid to look for the answer to the hard questions.

But while you're asking the hard questions, remember that these are people.  Yes, I know, I already said that.  The thing is, while you're probing around trying to figure things out, and while you're even defending what you sincerely believe, remember your own humanness.  Remember the nature of humanness and that none of us are blameless.

As I've looked around this past week in checking on some things I wasn't sure were truth, I came upon some disturbing displays of both sides.  Some digging, using strong terminology that was borderline slander; some defending a person who was clearly in the wrong in a way that completely negates the message of the person being defended.

While we look about in search of truth, knowledge, and even entertainment, let's remember who we are.  Let's try to remember goodness, kindness, patience, gentleness, and self-control along with our faith.

But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.  Galatians 5:15

Thanks be to God for the asker of the hard question... and may she be blessed today and always.  

And I must give thanks to God for his word, which teaches us truth and his character.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Delayed Encouragement?

There was plenty on the family plate Friday and Saturday.  All good, but even good-busy can be tiring. I will say that I prefer good busy to bad busy.  This was definitely good busy!

But it was busy, and busy often means an "oops" here and there.  

Normally, I immediately check Ryan's "Goat Book", the cute mascot-monikered, three ring binder that comes home in Ryan's backpack.  Every afternoon, before we do anything else I know to check the Goat Book.  What homework we have, what notes should come back, that kind of thing.  Friday, in a fit of forgetfulness, I didn't even open his backpack.  

I know. For shame!

He never has homework over the weekend.  I guess I've conditioned myself to know that.  Yeah.  That's what we'll call it.  

Either way, somewhere between Friday's therapy appointment, groceries, the game, our day trip Saturday, our usual Sunday, and Eric being wonderful and making lunches Sunday night, I didn't check it.  

Every day has its challenges.  At times, it seems that we might just be spinning our wheels.  The things that were making major progress seem to wane.  The things that frustrate Ryan and all of us raise their ugly heads, and in a sea of anxiety and fear we choke and sputter and struggle to get a breath.  

We dig our heels in the sand and insist that there is reason to be glad in every day.  This is the Lord's day.  Yes, Monday through Sunday, not just Sunday.  Every day is His.  We will be glad in it.  

But we get tired.  

It seems that the spinning and spinning is endless.  There must be no tread left.  We must be circling.  We just saw that landmark five minutes ago.  

Panic.  Is anything getting better?  Are we doing any good?  

Can we keep going at this pace? 

Can I...? 

All these questions spill over my heart and down my cheeks after our Sunday night date.  On the couch, the kids safely tucked into bed, the last threads turn and the lid pops, and out come all the fears.  Frustrations.  Anxieties.  All that I can no longer bear falls onto his shirt, into his shoulder.  

This time, I can't carry it alone.  

We bow our heads, and he carries it to our Father for me.  

I simply could not take another step. 

The next afternoon, as Ryan climbs into the van, the classroom aid who brings him mentions that there is a note in his backpack that I really ought to read.  

Then it hits me.  For the first time all year, I failed to check the Goat Book.  Blerg.  

Scrambling to open his backpack, I find encouragement that had been there all weekend.  I had no idea. 

Among other things, the note that I know took a minute his teacher didn't have to give, told me that he's coming out of his shell more and more.  That he even stopped her while they were walking down the hall and said, "It's time for a hug, Mrs. B!" and proceeded to wrap her up.  

The aid, Ms. K, tells me as she watches me go nuts over the note, that Ryan's now making a new friend.  He's learning the names of the kids in his class.  THIS. IS. HUGE.  He is reaching out, trying to talk to kids in his class.  And they're trying to talk back.  

Then, at home, I find these gems in his folder.

Yes, Mommy is the blobby one on the left.  Daddy is the taller, thinner one to the right.  This one is pretty great, too.  Notice the eyes... still none of the business parts of the eyes. Just sockets, thanks. 

So I'm in the middle of kicking myself for not looking at the Goat Book when, out of nowhere, I remember... maybe brokenness isn't such a bad thing.  

I tend to get a bit too big for my britches.  Got this, don't need help, all with a smile... but I'm going down the drain.  At least I'm smiling, right?  

Sometimes we need to fall apart so that we can remember that we can't keep it together.  I couldn't even pray for myself.  Too tired.  Too worn.  Too weary.  Oh, I could have... but the blessing of curling in my husband's arms while he interceded on my... and Ryan's... and his... behalf?  

Hard, yes.  Inexplicably, oddly sweet?  Absolutely.  I had the chance to admit I was scared. As hard as that is, laying it out there is needed.  

And the next day, I learn that all is going uphill.  Even tonight, as I was putting him to bed, he sat on his top bunk and picked up one of the Angry Bird small stuffies my mother bought for him.  He's never offered to love them much.  Actually, he usually throws them down from his bed in a rather rejectful fashion.  

This time, he fiddled with the tag a minute, then handed it to me and said, "you will cut".  

"You want the tag off, buddy?"  


You better believe I headed to the kitchen like my jeans were aflame.  In an instant, I returned with a de-tagged stuffie.  He handed me the other.  And the other.  Then I stood in joyous amazement and watched him smile, stim, and play with them for the first time.  Then he laid down with them arranged all around his head, and even gave me a kiss good night.  

Then, by the time I got to the kitchen, I heard him screaming for Mommy.  AGAIN, a first.  

Upon returning to his room, I hear him crying real tears and shaking sobs.  "Take your glasses!"  

My etherial delight at watching him play in such a calm, peaceful, happy way turned to utter terror in less than five minutes.  I forgot to take his glasses and put them away.  

Yes, I need refuge.  And maybe... just maybe... I need to admit that a little more often.  Because when I can hear what my boy needs, I can share a solution.  An arm around his shoulder.  A kiss for his cheek.  A shoulder for his tears.  

But if he never cries out?  

Frustration on both parts.  Sadness, anger, anxiety on both parts.  

Thanks be to God for leading us to rest and refuge, even if it's the hard way.  

Cry out today.  Let someone... let Him... take some of the weight.  

Thanks be to God for progress.  Even progress that we don't recognize. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Friday Night Real Quick...

I'm beat.  But before I fall asleep, I have to show you what a great night we had.  Actually, what a great day.

First, the lunch thing was no big deal.  You know why?  The classroom aid had his kind of fruit snacks in her lunch, so she snuck them into his lunch box before he could notice.  Yes.  She is that awesome.

The driving around in Waco thing was exciting.  Parents' weekend plus a home game at Baylor equals nutty traffic.  I fought my way through traffic, we did therapy, then we all went to get groceries, then gas, then dinner on the way home.  We were home long enough to quickly unload and put away groceries, then it was time to go to the game.

This is our big rivalry.  They actually call it "The Battle of the River" and it is a huge deal.  So parking was crazy, the walk was long.  But the kids were great.

They moved the band back down into the south end zone, which worried me.  No problems, though!  The game is just a few feet away, but Ryan and the littles were happy to stay "on the gray" after a couple of mama freak-outs and explanations of those guys in the black and white and getting the big football kids in trouble if we get too close.

As I walked in, this is what a very excited drumline guy (the one I'm married to) waved in my face:

Yes, that's one of our local central Texas TV news guys getting footage of our wonderful drumline kids!  Kids were tickled, and obviously so was Eric.

Then there was the real fun.  Ryan took to the new setup like a duck to water.  He loved getting to sit so close to the big kids, but just far enough away that he wasn't in their faces or tempted to reach over and play their drums, which is a big no-no.

 At several points during the game, the drumline kids cheered Ryan on as he played with them.  Just thinking about it my heart is blessed to overflowing!  SO proud of our band kids.  So very thankful for the attitudes and hearts who reach out and encourage our kids.

I could not be happier with them.  It's just not possible.

Then I couldn't stand it, and had to get a shot if our princess catching some daddy love... and a little daddy-cheese, while she's at it. Yes, that is the end zone behind them.  I told you we're close!  So much fun when the game comes to that end.

During half time, the kids and I and one of the other BDK's (Band Director's Kids) hung out while they marched.  We had some attitude issues, but on the whole?  They were sweet.  And cute.  Just look at these little sardines on an equipment cart.  Looks like it'd be fun to surf on, right?  Precisely what we had the attitude issues with.  Whoops.  Silly mommy!

Back to playing.  See how close we were?  He was watching sticks a lot, trying to match.  So proud.

Richie-roo and one of the much older BDK's, bless her, rolled around with one of the other BDK littles on that same equipment cart for much of the second half.  Maelynn was super tired, and Ryan was getting there too.  About the time during the fourth quarter that he discovered I hadn't brought a snack for him (whoops... there I go again...) he started to get a bit harder to handle.  

So after getting to see my big girl for a few minutes, we decided to get a jump on traffic and head out. I sure hated to leave.  We were having so much fun!  But we have a great outing scheduled tomorrow for everyone but daddy, and it involves a drive.  

Leaving was no fun.  Lots of people, three kids, and only two hands.  

Somewhere in the process of Ryan being upset, Richie and Maelynn not wanting to leave, and me trying to usher them through the crowds as quickly and safely as possible, we dropped Richie's drink.  

I know.  But he freaked out.  Much crying.  Much begging me to text daddy and see if he could find it.  

I gotta tell ya, having been a band director myself, you're tired after a football game.  I wasn't sure I wanted to text him to go search the grass by the south entrance, which is a world away from the band hall.  But I did.  

On the way out, I rolled the windows down so we could hear the song the kids play at the end of the game.  They'd won.  For the first time in (I think) 13 years, we won against this particular town.  I glanced over my shoulder, and the band kids were going nutty even as they played.  

As much scrambling and energy as it takes, as much time as it takes, as sometimes over-the-top as it is, I do love some Texas Friday night lights.  Maybe not as much as some of my more blinged-out counterparts, but this is pretty cool, folks.  There's something about the way the community comes together to do something... well, together... that makes my heart smile.  

And when, in the midst of all that pomp and tradition, those kids take time to love on my kids, well... like I said, I'm so blessed my heart could explode.  

Oh, and that drink?  A few minutes after the kids went to bed, my husband sent me this...

He'd walked all the way back across the high school and the length of the football field, went through some trash, and found it.  

This is the man God has given me to spend the rest of my life with, and this is how we spend it.  We love, we laugh, we forgive, we go out of our way... 

And we go to bed happy and thanking God for it all.  

Good night, everyone.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fruit Snack Saga

Today, I got a bit of a pass.  A tiny bit of time off, agreed upon by the big guy and I.  Just a meeting and afternoon of playtime for Maelynn.  I went over what we needed from the grocery store, and decided that we could wait for a few things.  The one thing I knew we needed I'd grab at the store in town.

The one thing I needed was Ryan's fruit snacks for his lunch.

I'd noticed before that they didn't have them at the grocery store, but that they did have them at the dollar store in town, so I'd simply make a quick run over there.

After a particularly harried afternoon, a surprise downpour, and a little boy who didn't want to work with his speech therapist or do his homework, I ran out after dinner to grab that one thing.  Just fruit snacks, and I was sure I had seen them.

Turns out I saw the brand, but not his FLAVOR.  Ugh.

So I got something that he might like that might be different yet the same enough that he'd try it.  Then I grabbed some of those boxed, chewy, individually wrapped brownies that likely have enough preservatives to mummify a small dog.  But hey, that would be a great treat, and maybe enough to counteract the fruit snack mishap.

A slightly panicked trip next door to the actual grocery store yielded fruit snacks in every shape, kind, character, and flavor imaginable... you guessed it... except for Ryan's.  There was, however, an off brand that looked more like his.  I know, he'll know, and he will likely not be thrilled.  But I did my best.

This week has been a great reminder of a few things so far.  One of the biggest is that although we work to seamlessly shift Ryan from task to task, event to event, place to place, there are so many things we just cannot control.

Sometimes, we have to make choices that aren't the best for Ryan.  There will be times when situations surface that are not scrubbable, moldable, or changeable.  Sometimes just because we can make things easier for him doesn't mean we should at that moment.  Sometimes there are other things to consider.

Sometimes there are times that I just drop the ball, plain and simple.

And you know what?

We will all live through it.

It may get noisy, I may get a call from school, I may have to go grab him a little early.  But really, I love the kid.  I miss having him around when he's not here.  So what's the worst thing that will happen?  He will lose his composure about having the wrong fruit snacks in his lunch.  I'll get him early.  Best case scenario?  He eats the different ones, or bypasses them and goes for the brownie.

It's crazy how much something so simple can mean in his life.  My mind has already gone down the road of the brownie as a precedent setter.  Maybe I need to have a brownie in his lunch on home football game days, so that he knows if he's wearing his band shirt and he's eating a brownie at lunch he's going to the game that night.  Hmm.  That might stop a little of the begging for a game every night of the week.  But no, I have enough to keep up with, thank you.  Maybe this will start a fit every day that he opens his lunch and doesn't see one.

See how it gets?  Seriously, at some point, I have to stick my feet out and stop this merry-go-round, no matter how much gravel kicks up and how dirty I get.  I did try to correct my mistake.  I did make a mistake.  I'm likely going to do that again.

So for tonight, I'm letting it go.  Kid gets a pack of sub-part fruit snacks and a brownie apology.  I've already agonized over this all evening.  I've kicked myself, I've run around trying to find the right thing in the right package. There is a good chance he's not going to be happy tomorrow when he opens his Lightning McQueen lunch pack and finds the wrong fruit snacks.

Amazing that the creator of heaven and earth and all who inhabit it can forgive an immeasurable amount of folks for an equally immeasurable amount of utter wrongdoing, and I'm freaking out over fruit snacks.

It's a good thing His mercies are new every morning.

Thanks be to the God who never drops the ball on even the tiniest thing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Step Back... or is it?

Life threw me a little curve ball yesterday.  Okay, two.  Alright, so one was my fault.

We'll start with my mistake.  Eric and I spent part of Saturday culling out the boys' closet and drawers, removing things we believed to be too small and switching out shorts for warmer clothes.  I put all Ryan's size 7 jeans on one shelf and the 8's on the shelf below, thinking surely the smaller size would fit for a while, then we'd move on to the larger without getting the storage tubs out again.  Great idea, no?

In my defense, trying on shoes and clothes is no fun for Ryan.  By "no fun" I mean shaking, crying, screaming, why-are-you-taking-things-off-and-putting-them-back-on confusion.  So we just don't do it.

Fast forward to Monday morning.  It's time for dressing, and we're a bit tight for time.  So I grab a pair of the size seven jeans, help him put them on, and snap them.  They were a touch snug, but again, time was an issue.  The last time I put something on him that was too little, he actually tugged at it and cried, "take it off!"  He was home for at least ten to fifteen minutes after I dressed him, and he didn't complain in the van ride over.  So I assumed we were good.

About 12:45, his sweet teacher calls and I can hear him screaming in the background.  Yes, it was the pants.  His whole world was upside down because I didn't want to take time to get the poor kid another size of pants, because then I might make him late and throw off his day.

So I picked the kid up and hour earlier than usual and got him some different pants before therapy.  The whole time we were changing his pants he kept repeating "thanks" and "good job mom".

Sweet kid was grateful that I was getting him the right pair of pants.  What a guy.

Fast forward to the end of therapy.  I had a little something different and more fun to do while we waited on our biggest brother, so I brought the iPad and iPods to keep the kids somewhat educationally entertained while I did my thing.  They were in a tote bag so that Ryan couldn't see them.  I handed them out after he went in the room.  But it was on the way home that things started to get interesting.

Usually, he finishes his homework before he gets the iPad for a certain amount of time.  Then he plays with his drumsticks, maybe along with his favorite drum-related video, "Animusic".  He really does play along.  It's pretty neat.  After that, it's dinner, then a little VSmile, then pick up toys, then baths, stories, water, brush teeth, bed.

Only he found the iPad on the way home and began playing it, even without his volume-control headphones.

Then I had to take it away to get him to do homework.

Then I attempted to return to routine, and had to throw it off again for a worthy errand.

Just walking across the street to look at a house for my Mom.  That's all.  No big deal.  I offered to let him take the iPod, mostly because I had to concentrate a little.  It was either today or Saturday, and since it's marching contest season in Texas, I would have all three kids in tow no matter.

He lost it.  Just getting him to walk out the front door to do somewhere had him shaking, screaming, crying, hitting... completely melted down.  The same happened upon our return.

It's these times when we realize how much the routine has become part of who we are.

I had just been visiting with one of the future ABA therapists about this.  How we do know Ryan better than anyone, but describing life with autism in five minutes or less is just inpossible.  I've had several people ask me over the years how autism impacts us.  Describle how it affects him, how you do things.

And the best answer I can come up with is to ask a question right back.

Describe for me, in your own words, the color blue.  You cannot use any other colors as helpers or descriptors.  Describe it to me as though I've never seen a color.

You'd need some time.

Yes, Ryan's set of behaviors that cobble together into a diagnosis has changed so much about our lives. Yes, there are days when we want to scream and run for the hills.  And of course we appreciate the question!  But there is no simple answer.

All of that is partly because Ryan was our first.  But most of it is because we love him.  We just do what we do and how we do it because we love our family.  There are days like yesterday when the different is brought into a bit clearer focus. Actually, it sucker-punches us in the gut.

See, we get to rocking along in a routine.  Then something comes up that we want to do, and sometimes we just do it.  There have been times when it was okay.  Then there are times when it feels that by asking him to complete the task that you've carefully explained, that is just a few minutes' worth of different, is the most evil thing you could have inflicted upon that precious soul. I asked him to walk across the street out the front door.  That is all.

But for some reason it's a big deal to him.  That shocked, horrified face when I told him what we were to do still shatters my heart, even in my memory.  

He has... we have... come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

And it's an awfully long journey to travel with arms folded, bitter, and refusing enjoyment, peace, and blessing.

So we cling to Romans 8:28.  We remember that this is the day He has made.  We remember that we are made in His image.  We remember that He does not make mistakes.

We reach out, take His hand, and keep walking.  Not just with determination to finish, but with determination to savor, enjoy, remember, and cherish.

Thanks be to God for his sovereignty.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Yesterday was quite celebratory.  

No, it wasn't anyone's birthday or anniversary.  There was nothing new purchased or paid off.  No major holiday.  

When you fight and climb and persevere for every little milestone, miracles come into sharper focus.  They're in the quite little things, the common, every day things.  But in our house, they're earth-shattering progress.  

They come in different forms and different ways. Things that you'd pushed out of your mind, that you wouldn't ask him to do because, well... let's not start a meltdown, shall we?  Every day, every little thing we do when he's not at school is a potential powder keg. 

Hang on tight... I can't wait to tell you the most wonderful of the improvements just in the last few days. 

Thursday, I completely messed the whole afternoon upside down so that Eric could get new glasses.  He hadn't had his eyes checked in three forevers.  His old glasses were falling apart and the prescription was painfully outdated.  As soon as our vision insurance kicked in (something we're jumping up and down that we can now have) I wanted to shove him in the doc's office and get this DONE.  Through the course of a couple cancelled therapy appointments, one my call and the other for a therapist's workshop, last Thursday was the day.  

The thing is, we have homework now.  Blessedly, we only had spelling words and comprehension that day, and we did this in the van.  

Yup, that's right.  In the van outside the doctor's office.  He sat there and not only did his homework... look what he did it with.  

Yes.  A pen.  Not just a pen, a clicky pen.  You know, the type that one person you know won't stop clicking incessantly?  He was a little unhappy and meltdown-ey when we started the homework process, but once he got moving he was great!  Traced his spelling words twice and wrote them twice.  No complaints once we got started. 

The rest of the night was long, but he was really great.  Oddly enough, Maelynn was incredibly cranky.    

Saturday was very rough.  Lots of screaming.  Lots of unhappiness.  We took a family trip to the library in town, and he loved that.  No problems there.  He even selected a book, read it, and agreed that a train book would be great to take home.  Then when we got home, the rest of the day was just hard.  

Sunday, since Saturday was hard, we were sure would be interesting.  Still, we got all the kids ready and headed to church.  The air was cool and crisp, even setting a record low-high for the day for the area.  It's never that cool that early in Texas!  Eric and I were delighted.  

In the van at church, we verbally social-storyed with our little buddy some more.  "We sit in our seat.  We do not lay on the floor.  We listen to the story.  We make good choices and earn our letters.  If we make good choices, we ride bikes at home."  

First thing out of the box, he lays down on the blasted floor in the CE room.  

I almost had a Darth Vader "NOOOOOOOOOOO" moment.  It took everything in me to control myself.  

After talking him back into his seat, I plodded a little dejected on to our CE class with Eric.  I just waited to hear his scream.  I prayed as loudly as my heart could speak in a quiet room for God to hold Ryan, give him peace, help him enjoy.  

Time passed.  And passed.  I thought I heard him, but I guess I didn't.  

After about an hour, class was over, and I wanted to jump up and down!  A couple of folks asked how I was, and the only thing I could say was, "GREAT!!!  I'm still here!!!"  

Upon arrival at Ryan's CE room, I was met with ecstatic teachers.  "He did AWESOME!"   

Not only did he earn his letters, but he wrote them himself!!!  He colored!  He drew his little men all over the worksheet!  He followed directions!!!  His aid and I happy danced.  LITERALLY.  There were many hugs and there was much celebration.  

Then it was on to the service.  

We stopped for the obligatory drink from the water fountain, then on to our seats in the back-est of the back.  He was giggly.  He wanted to lay down.  Again, my heart sank a bit, and I became concerned that we might have issues.  

I won't type all the details, but it was wonderful.  

At one point, he was holding the worship guide, kinda looking like he was reading it.  I saw my pen laying in the windowsill, and thought I'd see if he'd like to draw some little men.  

Every other time in history I've given him a pen or pencil he's used it as a drum, banged the clicky part of the pen violently on every surface, or peeled the paper from the crayons.  Just not working for my boy.  But this time?  

Yes, that is our boy in his coat, all bundled up just as he stayed throughout CE, DRAWING ON A BULLETIN.  During church.  Just like any other kid might.  Just like I did.  I was so floored that, with my phone on silent and the rest of the congregation singing, I had to get a picture.  

He drew his sweet little men, this time with EYES.  Not just empty circles.  Eyes.  

This is progress.  It is slow at times, and we can go what seems like forever at times without any, but it is progress.  And it is sweet.  

We are grateful for Ryan's love for us that keeps him trusting us.  We are grateful for all the people who pray for us.  We are grateful and amazed at the people who join beside us, and persevere and get their hands dirty in the trenches with us.  

Thanks be to God for all of you, for it is through you that He is working miracles every day. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

True Love

The past week or so has been wonderful... full of fun and friends and work (yes, work is good) and I've loved it.  But boy, am I happy to see today.  A whole day with no calendar appointments other than my usual at 3:30 to get my big boy from school.  I have things to do at home, which is always the case.  But there's something about not having to run around across two counties, being certain places on time. The only things I need to do on time tonight are dinner, baths, and bed.  And then it's mommy time.

I was not always so good at me time.  There was a time when insecurity reigned more than it does now.  I look back on the times I had in college when waking on a Saturday with no plans and no idea if I'd see anyone or if anyone would want to do anything with me left a stabbing, vacuous, sick feeling in my heart.  For some reason, time alone rocked me to my core.

Now I can see what it was.  I'd been raised by a father who insisted I never loved him enough.  Time was love.  Gifts were love.  And as a kid, I could never give enough.  Never enough time on the phone.  Never enough time at the holidays.  I never stayed long enough in the summer.  There was always this chasing after approval.  I had to run, perform, and never fail... and from six hours away.

He used to tell me I was perfect... the only thing (yes "thing") he ever did right.  It made me sick to my stomach to be told I was perfect then, and the thought still makes me bristle.  I'm not perfect.

Then, I didn't quite understand.  I knew Jesus was the only perfect man, and that I'm certainly not.  Now I can see where the nausea originated... I can't be perfect.  There was no margin for error.  I could not live up to his expectations.  And the sickening thing is that I was so terrified of failing that I learned that acceptance was only one perfect performance away.

But, as my dear mentor said, there is no perfect performance.

I lived unknowingly climbing an impossible slippery slope uphill until I was married and had a seven month old boy.  I loved my Daddy.  I still do.  But I could not keep running uphill.  For the first time, I had to fail when it was blatantly obvious to him that I might love someone else more than he.  The time had come when I had to let go and let someone stronger than myself step in and do what I could not.

It got weird.  He said and did things, and had my stepmother say and do things that were frightening.  For months I was afraid to open the door when someone knocked.  There was the gift of professional Christian counseling, there were tears, there were days when I thought surely I was the worst child in history.  I am still not proud of this time and the decisions we had to make.  The lines we drew to unite and protect our marriage were not welcomed.

Through tears, shaking, and apology, I said good bye.

The support system that cradled us through the whole of this taught me what love really is.  Over the past few years, I've grown to see the ways in which Daddy was being completely unreasonable.  But then, for the life of me, I could not see it.  It has taken every day of every year since that day for me to grow to realize that, while at times love is things like sacrifice and togetherness and making sure someone else knows they're loved, those things are not love itself.  I'd argue that there is not one single, all-encompassing definition of love.

But I've learned that the best kind... or my favorite kind... of love is that which loves unconditionally.

Love that forgives.

Love that lets you be who you are.

Love that does not tell you who you are, then force you through that mold.

Love gives.

Love receives.

Love withholds when the gift might destroy you.

Love would give its life for you.

Love doesn't have to impress you.

Love stands and fights for you when your legs are jello and your mouth won't move.

Love lets you disagree.

Love knows when to let go.

Love knows when to hold on.

Love shares truth.

Love does not lie; for truth is always best.

Love loves knowing that you are hopelessly flawed.

The freedom to be who we are, say we are sorry when we err, be grateful for what we have to give and are given, and the comfort of knowing that these things are ours makes the best relationships.

This morning, I kissed my favorite man in the whole world good-bye for the day.  It's Friday, and he will work in and out of town and will not return until 1:00 in the morning or after.  For years, I would get that same gnawing in my stomach as I did in college when he was gone.  But years later, I know that I love him far more and he feels far more loved when I can stand and say good bye, knowing that while he's gone we'll miss each other, but we're both free to enjoy our time apart.

We both seek to love with a love that is patient and kind, does not envy or boast, is not arrogant or rude.  A love that does not insist in its own way, that is not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice in wrongdoing, and certainly rejoices in the truth.  A love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  We seek to love with the love Christ has for his bride.

But we can't.

"None is righteous, no, not one..." Romans 3:10

We can't see even what we need or how we are flawed until we are shown, and then we can't do anything about it ourselves.  Eric stood in the gap for me, but in a much more immense way, Christ stands in the gap for His beloved every day. 

So we return when we've failed, we apologize, we ask forgiveness, and we go and do our best. And He gives more grace.  He forgives.  He gives us peace through the word and the holy spirit.  Our Father does not fold his arms and manipulate us when we haven't opened a bible or been to church in a while.  He is, however, overjoyed to see us return when we do.  He's even interested in how much we enjoy our lives.  Guiding us through our issues, hurts, and every kind of valley we can imagine.  We are freed of forcing perfection... and all we have to do is believe, take his hand, and walk. 

Such a wonderful gift.  


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rock Gospel

This morning, when I dropped Ryan at school, he was still giggly-wiggly.  All morning he'd been this way, but this time he slowed down to eat his breakfast, and there was no hitting of his head.  For both of these, I'm thankful.

As I drove away, I asked the littles what they'd like to hear on the way home.  Neither spoke, so I asked if they'd like to just listen to what came up on mommy's iPhone.  Sure.  Ok.  So I reached up and turned on the stereo (is that still what you call them? I'm so behind) and this is what I heard:

If life gets hard to understand
and the whole thing's gettin' outta hand
Come to Poppa

While I'm pretty sure Bob Seger didn't mean this in the sense I took it, I took it that way anyway.  I grinned. I laughed out loud.  The rest of the song may not even fit, but this one little part?  Oh yeah.  It's one of those times when you're scraping the bottom of the barrel of sanity, and God shows his care for you and his sense of humor at the same time.  From time to time, he uses my classic rock upbringing, and it makes me smile every time. 

Because I don't think I've ever got it "in hand" and I sure don't right now.  

Because I know that I just dropped off a whirling, giggling, somewhat unpredictable creature and I'm praying that he has a good day.  

Because I know a good day is a long way off if this behavior continues.  

This morning, I spent time talking about miracles, signs, wonders, etc. with a group of women I've had the privilege to study with for I think about four years now.  They know my kids, me, and most of the messes we've weathered in the past four years, these ladies have been right there with us, praying, bringing meals, etc.  

We were supposed to think of a miracle that we have experienced to share with the group.  Now, I have to admit, there are things I really believe are the Lord's doing and his alone in my life.  If you take the miracle thing from my point of view, they're all around us.  I live with three. My marriage is one.  Our home is another.  All these are things we've received not because we're perfect or be cause we work hard.  

The simple fact that I can come to my Abba, my Father, my Poppa... with my hurts, my praise, my requests... is a miracle in that it is only by his work, not mine, that I have this privilege.  

And boy, am I ever approaching him about my sweet boy's behavior, state of mind, and whatever is going on with this giggly-wiggly thing right now.  

And I will be forever grateful for the privilege. 

Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mood Swing

The last 36 hours or so have been full of one of the most maddening, frustrating, disturbing parts of Ryan's behavior.  Full throttle, from one end of the happiness spectrum straight to the other in a fraction of a second.

One minute, he's screaming, crying, hitting his head, full meltdown mode.  Then someone hits the giggly-wiggly switch and BOOM.   He is flailing all over, acting half-crocked, giggling and laughing maniacally.

I've often wondered if we were just being unreasonable.  This can't be happening, right?  Surely we just have a low tolerance for this or something.  But tonight, for maybe the first time, wiggly-giggly, happy to sad Ryan showed himself to our speech therapist at home.  I mean, how can someone get angry over a child giggling?  But there's something different about this.

I really don't think he can help it.  On the flipside, I'm not good at handling it, either.

As I type, he's giggling and falling all over the living room.  He's flopping around like a noodle, unable to stop laughing.  As much as I hate to admit it, it's creepy.  It freaks me out.  It stresses me out.  I don't know what to do with this behavior!  Honestly, he really can't help it.  He'll try to hold his mouth.  Then the giggles spill over the top and out around the sides until he's at it again.

Last night, it was during bathtime mostly.  At completely inappropriate times he just lost it.  Every time I told him to stop doing something, he lost it.  The whole time I helped the kids pick up their toys, he was rolling on the floor or the couch.  If I asked him to please get to work with us, even with a specific task ("please put the car in the ottoman") he laughed harder.  If I got more stern with him, he either laughed harder or fell apart into screaming, hitting, sobbing tears.

When Eric finally got home last night, I fell into his shoulder face first.  I just wanted to rest. I needed to be snuggled and told that it'll be okay.  Which, of course, he did.

This morning, it was on all over again.  Richie and Maelynn were up at six when their usual awake time is seven or after, and Ryan was up at around seven.  The littles at least agreed to lay in my bed and let me get a little done and some coffee down until about 6:30.  They weren't asleep, but that's okay.

Ryan's usual morning is breakfast, get dressed, shoes on, then if there's time before my 7:45 toothbrush alarm goes off, he can have drumsticks or play with trains.  These days, he prefers his drumsticks or mallets.  Usually, a reminder of "eat your breakfast or no drumsticks" works.  He's always fed something he'll eat in the morning.  No sense in tanking the whole school day.

This morning was different.

If he wasn't giggly-wiggling, he was demanding something through his teeth, hitting his head HARD with his fist.  In case you haven't been around very long, no we don't give him or the other kids what they want for throwing a fit.

So heart-wrenching to see him in this state.  NO idea what to do, except stay calm myself.  And that's not at all easy.

But having someone see it... and even admit that it's happening... is freeing in a way.  It's not just me.  It's not just an inability to decipher my own son's minimal communication.  It's not some grand mother-failure on my part.

It's just hard to deal with.  And sometimes, that's what I need to hear.

At my kitchen table, sitting in the middle of a storm of giggly-wiggly then melty-downy, a professional tells me I'm not crazy.

And she's a blessing.

After another evening of fighting for everything, I'm ready to crash.  Did I mention that Richie and Maelynn didn't nap?  Yeah.  They were peachy at dinner as you can imagine.

Some might call today a loss.  Or a loss except for some specific parts, like all the time I spent in preparation for bible study Thursday with Maelynn at my side, pretending to do her bible study too.

That may be the only productive or beautiful part of my day, but... wait...

Romans 8:28 says that all of it works together for my good.  No need to worry about a wasted day.  No need to worry about what didn't get done.  Yes, try to improve on tomorrow, but leave today where it is.  Learn from it, but enjoy new mercies in the morning.

I can't see how in the world Ryan's behavior works to anyone's good.  But just because I can't see it doesn't mean it isn't true.  If I could take it away I would.  But I can't.

So I'm going to go to bed, resting my head on my pillow and my heart on God's sovereign love and providence.

Aw, man... that is, right after I make the bed. The sheets are still in the dryer.  *sigh*

Good thing the world doesn't hang on this Mama.  Thanks be to God for keeping it spinning.

Monday, October 1, 2012


We're in Galatians 3.  Listening, absorbing, applying, thinking... learning.  A couple of leans to my husband's strong, comfortable shoulder.  A laugh at a teacher joke... but whoops, maybe only I thought it was funny.  No matter.  Second time in a row I've been able to enjoy CE (Sunday school, for many of you) and it's lovely.

Then it pierces the door.

Reality stabs my heart.

I know I have to let the well-trained, seasoned in special needs education, angel of a lady deal with it.  I can't interfere.

My interfering got us here, I'm afraid.

It was likely two minutes but felt like an eternity before my heart gave in.  Hastily handing off my copy of scripture to the man with the strong arms who holds my heart in his, I half-run out of the room.

Then, as quickly, reason takes over.  This will never stop if I give in to his pleas for Mommy.

I know he is safe.  I can hear how she is dealing with him, calmly and evenly, firmly and kindly.

I stand around the corner, praying that he'll calm.  Pleading.

Do I know what to do?  No.  All I know is that what I've done thus far hasn't worked.

Reminders come from hands, mouths, different voices... but all from caring hearts... that this is the place  to be.  We are loved, never judged, stood beside in the battle lines.  We work together to integrate this precious soul into this body of believers... into the education he needs to enjoy life.

Nervously, I hit the pump on the coffee pitcher, then notice orange.  Before I can stop the words, I'm saying out loud that no, I don't want decaf... blah blah blah... the words pour from a mouth already full of frustration.  Hurt for my little guy.

But He gives more grace. James 4:6a

Just when I think we've maybe filled our dance card... that surely these people have had enough... we get a grace and mercy refill.  Peace and love and care pour over us.  Then the sermon is all about how Jesus hung out with the different... the outcast... the undesirable.  

The whole morning was a hug from heaven.  

More than a hug... our daily bread.  

God uses willing hearts.  No program, budget, committee, or added staff member can replace willing, loving, caring hearts.  They are the hands and feet of Christ.  

Thanks be to God for Redeemer.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...