Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Meltdown

I'm not a stranger to dark and oppressive.

In fact, I'm kind of an old pro when it comes to dealing with these two nemeses.

I know how to pray.

I know who to call.

I know what to do.

But lately I find myself faced with a new oppressor.

And this one has me stumped.

The irrational screams.  The flailing arms and legs.  The defiant and angry outbursts.

They leave me feeling completely and totally wrecked.

How do you respond to the little boy who is at once both the culprit and the victim?

What do you say when he is unable to listen?

What do you do when he is so consumed by the meltdown that everything you do just makes it worse?

The momma tiger in me wants to beat down the tormentor, but the base, broken part of me just wants to crawl into a corner and hide.

And neither are options.

I can't beat down this tormentor.  He isn't likely to go away.

I can't hide away.  My little boy needs me fully present.

This beautiful little person needs me to stick by him.

To pray for him.

To seek answers for him.

To fight for him.

To hope for him.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

That Mom

I've become "that mom."

The one that gets the look from random strangers in restaurants.

In grocery stores.

At the park.

The one that is helpless to do anything about her child's behavior.

The one that doesn't know where to begin to explain what is really going on.

Why her child is screaming and completely out of control.

Why her child just pushed another child when that child accidentally (and barely) brushed against his shoulder.

Why her child is cowering in the middle of the gas station - screaming and plugging his ears with his fingers.

Those looks cut right through me.

But not because the judging hurts me.

What hurts is knowing that I was once the one giving the looks.

I was the judge.

And I was so wrong.

Now when I come across the path of that mom I feel a surge of compassion.

A sense of solidarity.

I want to reach out and hug that mom.  Tell her I understand.

And I want to repent.

Being "that mom" has made me a better person.
Because it's made me turn to "that ONE."

The ONE who sees "that mom" and "that child" and reaches out His arms to us.
And loves us.

And then "This Mom" is forgiven and changed.

And new.

My, How We've Changed

It's been nine months since we received Davy's diagnosis of autism.

Nine very eventful months.

So much change.

Mark and I have changed.

We approach life differently now.  Our choices are always framed with "how will Davy do?".

We spend money differently.

We plan outings differently.

We judge less.

We stay home more.

We are way more intentional.

Our Big Three have changed.

They are more compassionate.

They are more patient.

They can assess the atmosphere of the room and, more often than not, they respond accordingly.

They are learning with us and are so willing to grow and change with us.

I'm so proud of them.

And Davy has changed.

Oh, how he's changed.

Nine months ago he could barely put two and three words together in a sentence.

Now he talks constantly.

Nine months ago he lived in a bubble he had created for himself.

Now he lives in and among us.

It's messy.  And it's hard.  And it's beautiful.

And I'm so proud of him.

Here's a list I've been working on.  It's a list of all the little (BIG) ways our little guy has changed.

- Talks.  REALLY talks.  Intelligently and with reason.

- Lets me comfort him when he's hurt.  Lets me hold him close while he snuggles in to me.  This just started in the last few weeks... and I love it.

- Plays with toys.  Not a lot, but some.  And definitely more and more.

- Pretends.  This is just starting and is HUGE.

- Hugs us.  Not often.  But some.  Those hugs are priceless.

- Kisses me.  The big, wet, slobbery baby kisses.  Better late than never, people!

- Uses WORDS to express needs.  It's not always clear, but we're getting there.

- Shows empathy.  When Charlie was in the hospital and then came home still so sick, Davy expressed a level of compassion and concern for him that surprised us all.  This gives us so much hope!

- He laughs.  A lot.  He's really trying to engage in the joking and kidding around that is pretty constant around here.

- Practically... he's learning to dress himself.  And he's cooperating more with this process.  He's learning to brush his teeth and tolerating this more.  He's tolerating the hairbrush more.  He eats tiny bites of carrots.  He can use a fork.  He's getting better at using a spoon.  He uses the bathroom (mostly) independently.

There are more changes.  Many just sparks of change.  But these sparks fan flames of hope in our hearts.

We are grateful.  Hopeful.

And embracing change.