Thank you to all who’ve commented, online and in person, about the posts I’ve shared about our son and autism. Before I decided to share our story here, I honestly felt scared. I wasn’t sure how people would respond or how it might change relationships for my son or our family. However, once I opened the gates to my vulnerable heart, a flood of love, support, and encouragement rushed in. Thank you.
I started sharing these posts in September 2017 but I originally wrote them privately as we were going through it three years ago, 2014. It’s been incredibly helpful to go back and read through them for myself and then to share them now. I’ve almost reached the “equal point” where the past meets our present location.
Here’s one more I wrote that I go back to frequently, especially after difficult moments when I wonder what in the world God was thinking when he thought I’d be able to handle this.
November 2014 –
I’ve been doing a lot of self-searching and re-thinking about myself, our son, and how I approach life and all the overwhelming parts. We’ve still had struggles, but for some reason they seem to be lessening in frequency and intensity. Maybe it’s just a nice phase but I’ll take it and enjoy it for now.
The last major tantrum he had, that I can remember, was a few weeks ago while in adoration – of all places. He had been begging me to let him come with me to our regular Saturday afternoon hour but I always said no because, as much as he always promised he’d be good there for the whole hour, he never was.
But this time he begged, Please! Because I need to get ready for my first Communion!
How could I say no to that?
Well he did pretty good for the first oh, 20 or so minutes, and then he was done. Without going into all the annoying details, suffice it to say that the baby probably would have acted better in there than he did that day.
It didn’t help that I had chosen that day to bring my journal along with me so I could really get my feelings out about the whole situation. Our family therapist had suggested I journal how I feel “in the moment” of his tantrums. And boy oh boy, he gave me every opportunity to write exactly how I felt!
If you were to read that journal entry, you’d probably think it was the writings of an insane bi-polar crazy lady. It started out nicely, positively, but then ended up in a hot scribbled mess.
I glared up at Jesus, present there in the silent Eucharistic host, pathetically pleading with him to save me from all this.
Can’t you see my misery? Why don’t you do something instead of just standing up there watching?
What started out as a peaceful getaway to spend some quality time with Jesus and my son was now more like a hot boiler room with the boiler about to explode.
And I did, I burst into huge sobbing tears. Everything came out, all those emotions I’d been bottling up were finally released. It was ugly.
Eventually, I calmed down enough to look back up to Him, asking Him for some sort of consolation. And I got this –
I have a special plan for him. TRUST ME. I need you to trust me and know that I have something special in mind for him. [And for you and your family.]
I’d heard this before, during his pregnancy and in his infancy years. Deep down, I knew God had something special in mind with this one. Not that He doesn’t with the other three, but there’s something…different…with this one that I’ve always felt.
Hearing those quiet words – like a quick burst of energy in my heart – calmed me. It re-focused me and helped me remember.
Things might be hard right now with him. Very, very hard. And there are days when I don’t understand him at all and really just want to be able to enjoy my sweet son again but can’t because I can’t see the good through all the bad.
But if all I do is focus on the bad, I’ll never ever see the good that God sees in him. I may even rob whatever it is God has in store for him if all I can do is be exasperated with him all the time.
But there is good there – much, much good!
So I’ve been praying more – like really praying. Not just assuming God knows I need him. I’m praying – out loud.
Not just when I’m calm and “in my window”, but when I’m out of it, or know I’m about to flee. I send a quick plea for help –
Jesus, be with me! Inject your grace into my heart right now – like the cortisol running high in me. Be my stress-relief. Be my survival-plan. Be my peace. Help me stay calm right here, right now, in this moment.
And you know something? It’s been helping – tremendously. And because I’ve been able to remain calmer in those moments more, so has my son. It’s not perfect – never will be. But I feel like we are improving, and that’s all I want for now.