Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Also True

The night after I wrote my last stormy post, Asher climbed into bed, in the mid-dark of the night, cuddled up as close as he possibly could, wrapped his arm around my neck, said, 'Hi Mommy. Mommy, hi.' in the incredibly sweet, sleepy way he has of saying it that makes my heart get all warm and melty soft, and fell asleep. In the morning he gave me a good, long hug as if to say, 'I was mad at you last night, and I know you were mad at me. But we're okay.'

My heart rebuked me. How could I have been in such a dark place last night?! Look at the joy I have at my fingertips! Look at this amazing life!

Today I was driving around with Damek and he turned the cd player on. Adam had popped in an old cd he had found, something I loved. A song came on I hadn't even remembered existed and it just hit so hard. It's called Family Man, by Andrew Peterson. If you want to listen to the whole thing, you can find it here . It's all about how becoming a family man is so different than the life he had thought he wanted. And how beautiful the differences are. One stanza I needed to listen to over and over. It says:

And everything I had to lose,
Came back a thousand times in you
You fill me up with love
Fill me up with love
And you help me stand
'Cause I am a family man

Gah! It's so true! That selfish girl inside me I've always battled with, she likes to rear her head sometimes. But the fact is, my life is so much richer because of all I've had to let go. And I have to tell her:

This was not my plan
It's so much better than

Tonight I took Asher to small group again. I didn't want to. I remembered how hard last week was and I remembered all the mistakes I made and how impatient and tired I was and how tired I was this week and I thought, 'Let's just not go there again.' But Asher looked at me with big tears welling up in his eyes after Adam and the big boys left. And he said to me, with his voice trembling, 'Go church? Go church, see Daddy?' And I knew, deep inside, that the reason I didn't want to go was because of my own stuff, not because it would be best for Asher, so I said, 'Sure, Buddy. We'll go to church.'

He was so happy he could not stop dancing for the first 10 minutes of getting there. He only lasted a few minutes into the kids' worship talk, he's been in school all day after all, but he wanted to stay. So, we went to the younger kids' room early and he happily colored until everyone else got there. The younger kids have a married couple who run their activities after the worship thought. Asher adopted the husband, sat right next to him, talked to him, showed him his artwork, and was happy as a clam. I stepped outside but hung around in case he got too tired to be a part of the program anymore but the one time I stepped in to check on him, he told me to 'Go Mommy!' and the leaders told me they loved him so much they were going to bring him home. I felt myself relaxing for the first time all night.

On the way home I was listening to an interview with a comedian I really like and she was talking about how her life has changed since getting married and having kids.

"I heard all these people talking about how making a commitment is so difficult because there are so many things you have to give up in order to get married. But that's really confusing to me because I have found that since getting married and having my kids, I have so much more than I had before. I feel like I have made it and that there is opportunity for even more, and I'm not talking about my career."

Bam! That's it!

The truth is that times of darkness will come on me and you, and we can express it but we don't have to hold onto it. And we can find the light again and we can realize what a gift we have been given.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Truth

There are times it is not easy to be on this journey. There are times when I would like to get off the train, take a hike into the woods, by myself. There are times when I can't find any Pollyanna-twist and the sun is not shining. 

There are times when I want to tell the truth about how I'm feeling and how hard things are but there are so few who get it. 

There are times when I have told people who hear my darkness and feel free to share the negativity they've been holding in and now feel they have permission to let out. They make my life sound like some horror movie from the 70's and I think, "Holy crap! Is THAT what you think?" And rather than getting to work through my own dark, I have to try to prove to them how much lighter it is than the darkness they're spewing.

There are times when I have told others who feel the need to MAKE me feel better without allowing me to work through the hard feelings I'm having. "Your life can't be that bad!" they seem to say, "I spent that time in college working with people with disabilities and I LOVED it!" And rather than being given permission to work through the hardness of life at the moment, I feel forced to fake the smile and the enthusiasm. 

But if the truth were told, there are times. 

There are times when I have had to chase my child down the street after he tries to "Go see Daddy" because Daddy is the ONLY one he wants and he is not afraid to tell me how much he does not like me. There are times when he starts to throw a major fit in the middle of the street. There are times when I have had to muscle him into our house because he will not calm down and will not choose to be safe. There are times when he throws valuable things down the stairs in his rage and I shut him in his room and we both sob on our own sides of the door. There are times when I ask God, "When is this supposed to get better?!" because I have been dealing with this new phase of absolute noncompliance and stubbornness and anger for months now and I feel done. There are times when he calms down enough to let me hold him and rock with him while he cries and cries for what seems like 10 hours straight. There are times when I cry and cry with him. There are times when I do not much like where my life is at and I can't see even a pinprick of light at the end of this seemingly never-ending tunnel. There are times when I feel envy climbing up my back like an invasive species. Envy for those whose kids are normal, who have no reason to see a doctor except for that sticker of approval, "This one's fine". Envy that there are people in the world who can plan spontaneous adventures with no thought of bathrooms or accessibility or timing or gear, all the gear. 

There are times when I feel guilty even posting this because what if that one expecting parent finds this post and decides it's all too much and they shouldn't have that baby. Oh, the pressure! To always be the advocate and the good mom and the one who has it all together! Well, tonight I do not. Tonight I am just willing to speak the truth of where I am and to cry some tears and to pray for the strength to get through one more day. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Wrong Focus

Asher's state-required psyc eval and IQ test came in the mail a few days ago. Adam asked me if I wanted to hear what was in it. I said, 'Not today.' Because we know what's going to be in it. We know it's going to highlight how far away from typical he is. We know it will focus on all the quantifiable ways he is less than his normally developing peers. Less than. After all, that is what we specialize in in our quantifiable tests, exams, evaluations. Finding who is less than, who is weakest. Who needs extra. We know that people with qualified book learning watched our son and checked all the book-specified qualities and found him lacking. Sometimes finding the lacking, giving the extra can be really helpful. Sometimes those lacking reading or writing or math skills can make great improvements with a little or a lot extra. But sometimes the findings just glare at you, telling you that this is your child and there is no place for him because he will never be enough. He will never live up to the productivity level our society deems worthy.

I was thinking about this as I made Asher's lunch. I angrily shoved a bite into my mouth and popped the rest in the microwave, just as Asher came running around the corner, shouting, 'Mom! Mess! Big mess!' Which means one thing, Asher made a huge mess somewhere and is coming to humbly show me his work and apologize, though 9 times out of 10 lately he refuses to help clean it. I stormed down the hall after him, in a much worse mood because of my own thoughts, and prepared to really let him have it. I am so sick of cleaning up these massive avalanches he causes! And right when I opened my mouth to tell him how I feel about this mound of junk he's dumped all together, I choke on the bite of food in my mouth. And all I can do is cough and cough and cough, so hard I almost throw up because there is a piece lodged right at the opening of my windpipe.

Asher jumps into action. 'You okay, Mommy?!' he calls as he runs down the hall. I hear water turning on in the kitchen and seconds later he comes running back with a cup of water with a straw in it. He gently hands me the cup and starts patting my back as I gratefully drink it.

I look at this boy, with tears in my eyes, partially because I had just been coughing my lungs up but mostly because I just love him. Adam had shared with me the last line of the report, 'Asher is a the same level as a 3 or 4 year old.' They don't know. They don't know his amazing emotional intelligence, how can you quantify that? They don't know how many ways he enriches this house, all the times he causes every person to slow down and choose kindness. How can you make money off of that? They don't know the love that sparkles off of him, how he makes so many smile and cheer. There is no way to put that on a checklist.

I think the school I am in with Asher is one that teaches me how to say, 'Whatever!' to the world of checklists, productivity, bottom lines. There is so much more to people than the paycheck they earn, the grades they get, and the college they attend or don't. That kid! He drives me crazy some days. He makes huge messes. He brightens my day every morning with a hug, a kiss, and a 'Good MORNing, Mommy!' And he is so much, much more than a number on a paper.