Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” ~Deuteronomy 31:5-7
We're sitting at the table, and Ryan pulls something off of (I assume) the bottom of the table or a chair. It looked kinda gross... so the following ensued.
"Ryan, what is that? Go wash your hands, please."
*pounds chest while yelling through clenched teeth, "NO! NO! NO! NO WASH HANDS!"
"Go wash your hands. They're yucky." No really... the thing he peeled off... I'm not a great house keeper. Okay, so maybe it's worse than that. Either way, he needed to wash his hands.
He hits the table, hits his head, making this horrible angry sound. I usually call this grunting because I'm not sure what else to call it. When he finally did get up and head to the bathroom, he went yelling, screaming, and hitting his head and the walls on the way.
I made him come back so that he could try again, calmly.
He didn't make it that far. He couldn't calm down, even with me staying calm. He started slapping his ears. It just got worse from there, until suddenly, after fifteen minutes of this and my refusal to let him leave the room until he calmed, he stopped cold.
I turned to my mother, choking back tears, and said, "This was all over washing his hands."
And it also hit me, in that heartbroken moment of running about the house, picking up and straightening, trying to outrun the tears, that there is no break that will make this easier.
There is not enough of any substance that would make this easier. Not coffee, not wine, not Dr Pepper or any other vice. Not even chocolate or ice cream. Trust me, I've tried.
There is nothing that will make it easier to do in the moment.
There is no date that will make it easier, either. Getting away is great, yes. And everyone needs rest. But no, nothing fixes it.
There is no friend or family member, no matter how close or how selfless they try to be, who can take this cup from Ryan or from us.
There is also no amount of meltdown that could make me love my child less.
It hurts because we love him. It hurts because we can't do anything but try. Study. Seek.
Right as I was regaining the ability to speak without opening the floodgates, the phone rang. A friend and fellow team member needed to ask a couple quick questions. When she asked how I was, I was honest... we just got through with a meltdown over washing his hands. After a minute, she asked when he goes back to school.
I know it's okay to count down the days. I know lots of great moms who do, and that's cool! But at this point, I can't explain it. The idea of sending him to school again still bothers me. I'm going to miss having him in the house.
Yes, it will be easier to go to the store, get things done in the house, and just complete a thought. And I am looking forward to that part of it. At the same time, I'll miss him. So I'm not dreading it, just kinda indifferent. Not ready for them to go back to school, but at the same time, things get SO BUSY running back and forth to here and there and keeping up with his therapy schedules and Eric's band stuff that I can't place my hope in then.
I can never place my hope in then. Or now. Look forward to it? Sure. But hope in it? Nope.
But talking to her did help me make it back to normal mommy mood... and it did help that I walked in and Richie and Maelynn had constructed a way to shoot cars from the ottoman to the couch. They were giggling and having a great time together.
I can place my hope in the fact that I will never be left comfortless. Neither will my children.
Because the hope that I'm doing all the right things is false. The hope that I'm going to be able to do it all myself will fail. The hope that maybe tomorrow he'll wake up and be completely neurotypical is so very unlikely.
At some point before we hung up, I told her that the best I can do is now. Today. Tomorrow might be better, yes, but it will have its challenges too. And as we hung up, I realized that just as I was ready to curl up and cry, she called. Maelynn and Richie made me laugh.
And I could do round two if I had to. I was refreshed and smiling, happy to start over. Which is good, because it was less than five minutes before there was more screaming, more frustration. Smaller amount, but more none the less. He'll walk up to me and shout, randomly and out of no where, making me jump out of my skin countless times again today. He'll likely melt down over not getting to swim today because the chemicals aren't right, he'll throw a fit over not watching or playing just what he wants to watch or play. He'll likely get mad because I'll make him work with his speech therapist this afternoon.
But I will not be forsaken.
I'm in this for the long haul. Not for today, not as a volunteer hour, and certainly not until I'm tired of it. I can't quit.
And I will not be left without comfort!
Take heart, dear friends, in whatever you're facing. Look for the little things, even if it's that you have clothes on before noon... or that your car started this morning... or that the sun is out today. Or that you were able to get up and start again today, because sometimes just keeping going is the most courageous thing you can do.
You never know how the Lord will send comfort and encouragement. Mine came in the form of a totally unrelated phone call and a toy taken apart and used as something pretty funny.
Thanks be to God for his sovereignty and for keeping his promises.