Sunday, June 5, 2011

Here it goes...

As you can tell I have been having a hard time deciding what the fate of this blog will be. Do I write my true feelings, things I am experiencing? Some days I am still unsure. I feel as though it is a constant tug of war with myself in baring my soul as it relates to raising a child with a disability, which affects every aspect of who I am. It is amazing how going through trials really strips you of any pride you may have and brings you to a new place of humility. This past year or so I feel as though I have really been seeing the world with new eyes. It is like looking through a kaleidoscope, the end is not clear, but there are many beautiful colors, shapes, and new things to discover. These are some of my discoveries. Here it goes.

Someone I never would have met. A few months ago, Lincoln and I were out in the foyer of our church building. This seemed to be the best place for us considering I didn't have to be as worried about Lincoln distracting those around us with his frequent yells, his somehow perfect precision in nailing others with Goldfish, or trying to quiet down an impending tantrum. As Lincoln roamed the foyer he jabbered with his "Chinese babble" tied with random inflection choices. I sat on a couch next to a woman and her three curly-headed girls. This is when I first met Joshua. Joshua was a tall, built, teenager sprouting the common signs of adolescence; body odor and acne. However this isn't what drew me to him. It also wasn't his high-waisted pants and suspenders. It was his excitement as he sat and held on to my arm while singing with high-pitched joy Hickory Dickory Dock. I was certain this must have been his favorite nursery rhyme. He finished and then was off roaming around saying hi to others while beginning Three Blind Mice. All I could do was smile. His happiness made me happy.

Just then the woman, Cindy, sitting next to me apologized for his behavior telling me Joshua has autism. I of coarse said there was no need for an apology and then pointed to Lincoln. Cindy understood. I can't explain my relief and excitement to speak with someone who understood. Cindy asked if Lincoln was in speech therapy as it was apparent the sounds escaping his mouth were not "words". I told her he was but the progress seemed next to nothing. I explained my concern that Lincoln may never speak. To my surprise, Cindy said Joshua was the same way as a little boy. Just as we looked over at Joshua he began a new song with as much joy as the first. Cindy looked back at me and said in a light-hearted tone, "this is what I prayed for!". Cindy's story about her faith and prayers for Joshua to speak was published in a religious magazine. If you are interested, it can be found here.

I was humbled. So often I feel as though I am trying to conquer this challenge on my own. However, almost daily I am reminded that this feat needs faith. Thank goodness I don't have to do this alone.

I relayed to Cindy how amazing I thought she was. Look how far she had come. She is the mother of six children, one with autism. How did she accomplish this, and with all of her hair intact. She thanked me for the compliment and then told me that one day I would be the mom whom others viewed with amazement. Both of our eyes began to well up with tears. I will be honest, for a moment I did not want to be that mom. I wanted to be just an ordinary mom raising an ordinary kid living an ordinary life. Once again me wanting to take the easy road. However, that is not my calling. I don't feel this is any person's calling who goes through any sort of trial, whether it be addiction, sickness, loss of a loved one or whatever it may be. We must wake up each morning, put our pants on one leg at a time and realize our longing for ordinary will not be, but that our lives can be extraordinary if we make it so.

I thought about what I had said about Lincoln's speech progress being next to none. Then I thought...maybe to an ordinary mothers standards. Just like Joshua made small and simple gains I realized Lincoln really had made extraordinary gains during speech with his eye contact, his ability to stay at an activity for more than five seconds, and so much more. I was so grateful in that moment to remember those tender mercies that were Lincoln's small and wonderful successes.

I looked back at Lincoln in that foyer and though I realized the long road ahead, I knew there was hope. There is always hope.