Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bolting and Psalms

We sat, just as we always do, right outside the BARC.  It's your usual university hallway except for a few chairs added for us, I assume.  You know, us.  The US who bring our kids here twice a week for social circles and ABA therapy.  It's nothing like what I'd think of as a waiting room type area.  There are often classes in session just a few feet across the hall.  We do our best to keep quiet, but the kids are so comfortable with this place that it gets harder and harder to remind them that it's a school for big kids, not a playground.

This last time, the littles were doing great.  They played with play-doh, read books, and were generally pretty great, especially considering they're three and four years old.  Then it was time for Ryan to emerge.

I have to tell you, there are some things I just deal with for too long.  This is one of those things.  For a few weeks now, I've allowed him to tear off without slowing as he comes out of the BARC, straight down the hall, around the corner to the window.  The elevator is a short jaunt from there.  It scares me that he might get on the elevator, go down the stairs, or run into someone.

He's just not a little bitty kid.  And the last couple of months, he's filled out a bit.  He's probably close to an eighty pound tank of running, giggling kid.  I keep forgetting that he's going to run out giggling.  I keep reeling in the panic every time, just trying to get a chance to talk to his therapist for just a second before I chase after him.

See, it's not just Ryan.  There are these two adorable babies with me who love him so much that no matter what I do or say, Ryan is the coolest.  They would literally run straight after him into traffic.

This time, as the time ticked down, I remembered.

As I saw him coming out, I quickly reminded the littles to stay seated.  I got up and just barely caught him, not with my hand but my arm.  He didn't stop easily.  And when he did, he started screaming and fell to the ground.

Reaction or response?

This time, thankfully, I responded.  Calmly I reminded him to please get up and come with me.  I repeated this several times to no avail.  He just. screamed. louder.  He just hit harder.

In a swirling torrent of screaming and hitting and his yelling NO! at the top of his lungs, we finally swirl out of the hall and into the elevator.  He nearly didn't stop caterwauling and fighting against me long enough to go downstairs.

Once on the elevator, I placed myself between the kids and the doors.  It's recently hit me that I need to ride elevators with my back to the door to prevent him from bolting.  A reminder, a bit of a verbal social story later, and we're off to the van somewhat calmly.

Back to the van, it's all about the iPod.  No, you yelled and hit.  I'm sorry. No i-Devices.

This is what I wish you all could see, but at the same time, I hope you never do.

This is why my heart aches to help him.  To find the cause, the source, the root of all this pain for him and teach him to deal with it.

The thing is, I know why he screamed.  I changed something.  I allowed him to build up a routine of running to the window, then when I finally remembered in time to do something about it, the change threw him like a high bounce ball in a concrete room.

So I caused it, I suppose.  But he had to be stopped, and the truth is you never know for sure how hard it's going to be.  There have been times that I thought surely a situation would sink him and it was fine. But then again, there have been times that I thought surely a situation would be something he could thrive right through when the opposite became true.

We have to measure what we're ready to do when we decide to do something.  Are we ready to handle a screaming meltdown at the restaurant because they're out of ice cream?  It happened this weekend.  They were out.  They usually have it, but this time they were out.

The truth is, no matter how carefully we plan, we're not in control.

Today in preparation for bible study tomorrow, I caught this little gem:

I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

Not just when I can.  Not just when it's all going my way.  There is something in which to rejoice at all times.  But what?!  Oh my word!  You have to be kidding me.  While my child is screaming at me for what seems like an hour?!  While I'm dragging him, kicking and screaming, out of a very quiet, very acoustically live building?!  REALLY?!

As usual, I needed to be patient and read on... 

sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Then I got around to here, and oh, I had to tell you about it... 

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

You see, Psalm 34 reminds me that he hears.  In his time, and in his way, my tears are not wasted.  My son's tears are not wasted.  There are times when I'm not sure I feel like rejoicing.  But eventually, I'm led back to something that gives me peace.  Words that feel like a hug from God himself.  

So we'll go back Friday.  Not only that, but I'll keep holding our kids accountable, even when that assures my listening to screaming. 

Keep going.  

He hears.  

Thanks be to God for yet another word-hug! 

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