My son Andrew can light up a room with his contagious smile and charm you with his long lashes and freckled-face. Andrew enjoys music and being where the action is. He likes to be a part of whatever is going on around him.
Andrew has come so far in his 13 years, but he has struggled these last few weeks with some meltdowns and behavioral issues at school and at home. It’s always difficult for everyone involved when he struggles like this.
Yesterday was one of those days where he struggled more than normal. He was having a difficult time regulating his emotions and staying in control. For someone with autism, when things don’t go as planned it’s hard to adjust. When he feels helpless and out of control, it’s too much for him.
I had to go get Andrew from school because he wasn’t able to get it together enough to ride the bus home. I’m weary of this journey! (He is, too!) After picking him up yesterday, he kept apologizing and saying he was sorry for being mean.
“I know, Buddy! We’ll try again tomorrow!”
Tomorrow comes and there’s a change of plans in our morning agenda. He no longer has a doctor appointment because the doctor called in sick. (He was supposed to get some shots.) He cries–not because he was getting shots but because he’s not going to the doctor now and won’t be getting shots. Oy vey! We try to help him work through it. Sometimes plans change and we have to be flexible.
He finally calmed down when I told him I would get him Chikfila on the way to to school. 😊 As I was waiting in the drive-thru lane, it hit me. I was overwhelmed with such a love for this man-child of mine and all we’ve been through with him. I was so grateful God brought us to Colorado, if for no other reason than for Andrew to receive the kind of education and support from so many qualified and compassionate people in his life. It’s been such a stark contrast to what we experienced in Omaha.
Instead of dropping him off at the door, I decided to go inside and express my appreciation to the staff who work directly with Andrew–namely his primary teacher, Mr. Hall. Andrew has attended public school his entire life, yet God has peppered our journey with born-again believers who love Andrew.
Through tears, I told Mr. Hall that I appreciated him and all that he does for and with my son. This man loves Andrew. He works with him diligently every day. Gets discouraged for lack of progress yet comes back the next morning ready to try again. I also told some of the other staff that I appreciated them. They looked at me kind of funny and said, “We don’t ever hear that! Thank you!”
As I was sharing with him, he pulled up a chair indicating I needed to take a seat. He then proceeded to tell me that he carries a wooden cross in his pocket and shows Andrew periodically and asks him, “Is God pleased with this behavior?”
“Who died on this cross for your sins?”
And then he took Andrew aside and prayed with him. (Insert big ugly cry!) Mr. Hall hugged me and said, “I love my job! I’d be crazy to work here if I didn’t.”
“Lord, thank You for all the different people you’ve put in our lives, especially Andrew’s.
Thank You for those who love You and are not afraid to share You and Your love with Andrew. Thank You for showing me that I don’t need to be afraid of what Andrew’s future looks like. That You have it all under control. And that You are the answer to every question we could possibly ever have!”
Thank You for a loving husband and a devoted father to Andrew!
I had just dropped the twins off at the library where they volunteer for the Summer Reading Program after a chaotic morning of trying to get the Littles dressed and out the door. It’s not normally that difficult, but Andrew is in one of his episodes where he is not the same Andrew that we know and love.
He’s different! He becomes lethargic, despondent, almost non-verbal, noncompliant and pretty much a shell of a person — with some aggression sprinkled in there for good measure! Occasionally, we will see glimpses of his infectious smile, but even that fades quickly and seems forced.
I tried to figure out what I should do with the Littles for the two hours the twins would be working. After battling Andrew all morning, I was weary and not sure what I should do with them. I decided to go do some shopping at Target.
All was going well, except for the occasional looking over my shoulder to see Andrew wandering off oblivious to where I was.
Logan kept asking to go see the toys, but I knew that would be a disaster trying to get Andrew to leave the toys when I wanted to go, so I successfully steered clear of that part of the store.
As we were gathering up the last few items on my list, I noticed someone staring at us. I usually notice people staring at us as Andrew can give quite a show sometimes. I was ignoring the penetrating glare as long as I could when I decided to go with Plan B: Give her a quick smile as if to say,
“Yes, I know Andrew is different, and I’m sorry if he’s interrupting your pleasant shopping experience! We will turn down this aisle out of your way in just a moment!”
Ignoring and deflecting are two character traits you quickly aquire when navigating the community at large with your child who doesn’t quite fit into the social norm.
As I turned to go down a different aisle flashing the most sincere smile I could muster, I noticed her gaze continue to follow me.
Oh, no, she’s on her way over to tell me I have my hands full or to tell me what kind of diet my son should be on to “cure” what’s wrong with him. Or to ask what was wrong with Andrew.
But to my surprise, this unassuming woman asked if Andrew and Logan would enjoy the two Lemon Loaves she just purchased at the Starbucks. I graciously received the loaves and thanked her all the while knowing I would NEVER feed my kids anything from a stranger. She then told me what beautiful children I had, especially Andrew. She told me what a special gift he was.
Basically, she refreshed this weary mama’s heart and gave me a new set of eyes through which to look at him. Until that moment, all I could see was how difficult he was being and how stressful, everyday things become when he’s in his episode.
She chatted with the boys for a few minutes, and I told her Andrew wasn’t talking much right now. She touched my arm and told me about her niece who has special needs.
After a little bit more small talk, we started to part ways. She turned around though and gave me a hug! Kind of odd receiving a hug from a stranger in the middle of Target, but I received it because I knew Jesus was giving me a hug through this woman — a stranger. I had also asked Him for an extra measure of grace that morning as I desperately needed Him to help me get through the day.
I still didn’t plan on eating the loaves, but she also gave me a receipt to show that she did indeed just purchase the Lemon Loaves a few minutes prior. And I felt God say it was okay!
So, I did something I would never do that day! I accepted and ate food from a stranger! I gave thanks for it and for the one who gave it to us, and my whole attitude changed that day!
I guess you could say that when life gives you lemons, God will somehow bless you with Starbuck’s Lemon Loaves, the kindness of a stranger!
Today, a blog I frequently read was discussing what it means to “let go” of our kids and what that looks like, especially for moms. I have, as we all have, been in the process of letting go of our children in some form or fashion the moment they were born — that divine moment when God loans us HIS children.
Giff and I took one of our firstborns (twins) to his very first job this morning. Zach started detasseling hybrid corn fields today. This meant that Dad and I got up at 4:30a to help him get ready for his day. To my surprise, my little sleepy head was up and getting ready before my feet even hit the floor.
He didn’t need me!
Why, if I was the one who helped make this day a reality for him, was I surprised at the occasional tears that filled my eyes throughout the morning as we awaited word that it was time to come get him? We drove him to the pick-up site and got him in line for the bus. When he was next in line, the bus driver asked his name, and as I had done hundreds of times before I started talking for him. But then I heard his teenage changing voice speak up and tell her what his name was.
He didn’t need me!
Zachary ended up having a short day, and Giff picked him up earlier than we had expected. After a shower and resting a bit, Zachary asked for a hug, as he frequently doems. (His love language is physical touch.) Ahhhhhhhh……..
HE NEEDED ME!
I am the only mom he will ever have, and as that mom I am the only one who could give him that hug. Nothing can replace my arms when he wants a hug from his mom! I will continue giving him hugs as long as he wants them and as long as I am alive!!!
I am blessed — even if I only have 1559 days before both if my firstborns are 18!
PS: I make a habit when I do hug my kids to not “let go” until they do first!
I know Christmas is over! Trees are being taken down. Ornaments are put back in secure boxes til next year. Giff said that Target has even started stocking their shelves for Valentines Day!
However, I don’t want to leave this season too quickly without soaking in God’s particular message TO ME!
It’s a point that has been brought home to my heart again and again this last week or so. “Immanuel: God With Us!” God bridged the gap that was between us because of my sin. But not only did He redeem me, He validated my existence. He came for me! I’m not one in a million…I’m one! I stand alone with the Lover of my soul! He came for me! I am the Apple of His eye!
We were watching “Blind Side” tonight as a family. Again, this point was driven home! For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, let me summarize it by saying that the Tulley Family took in a street kid as their own and loved on him (Big Mike). They endured some ridicule as a family because he was an oversized black kid who came from the wrong side of the tracks in an all-white Christian school living with a white upperclass family.
In one scene, Big Mike walks into the school library to study. His “sister” (Collins) was sitting with her friends, and when Big Mike walked in, her friends gave him a disgusted-you-shouldn’t-be-here look. Collins left her table to go sit with Big Mike. That spoke volumes to me! She validated him. She valued him! She chose to identify with him!
God came for me! He CHOSE to leave His glory and identify with ME!!! He values me! He validates me! He identifies with my weakness, my feelings and my crazy life! He is not overwhelmed by my neediness! All of Him is enough for all of me!!!
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining til He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope. The weary world rejoices!”
As followers of Christ, we need to be incarnational in our relationships with others. Enter their pain! Enter their neediness. He is enough!
Life can get messy, especially when extending Christ to others in the midst of their lives. It doesn’t always come in cute little gift wrapped packages. No….it comes in the midst of scandal (Joseph and Mary), and life happens in the most unlikely places (in a stinky manger)! Nevertheless, He is there! Don’t be afraid to “weep with those who weep!”
I’ll leave you with a quote I heard this morning on the radio:
“I have a strict policy nobody cries alone in my presence!” (Dolly Pardon in Steel Magnolias).
Cry with those who cry and rejoice with those rejoicing!
Immanuel: God With Us!
When I was a little girl, I loved my daddy sooo much and I wanted to be like him. So, because he ate sardines from that familiar pull-tab can, I asked for some in my school lunch.
I sat alone at lunch that day.
And have never had sardines again…..until today!
Matthew and I share the same adventurous palette when it comes to trying interesting combinations and intriguing foods. So, I am offering him a fork and a tradition handed down from my dad and we will eat sardines!
Since we homeschool, I don’t think Matthew will be ostracized at the dinner table tonight.
We’ll see if he likes them. And we’ll see if the arrows of rejection at the Catholic school lunchroom are finally removed! (Just kidding!)
Verdict is forthcoming!
1. I’ve lost 13 pounds so far!
2. I dont’ really like cake (never really have) so I wasn’t tempted to eat any when celebrating my husband’s birthday yesterday.
3. I love to look at children’s artwork. I would pay to see a child’s piece of art quicker than I would to go see the famous artists like Matisse, Van Gogh, etc. I love how kids’ minds work!
4. I have to come up with a different name for this weekly post as my brother posts something quite similar for the Northgate Coffee Bar. Hmmmmm….any ideas?
5. I was contemplating my age yesterday, especially since we were celebrating his 43rd birthday. And I realized (*gulp*) that when my mom was my age, she had one married daughter and had just recently met my future husband! YIKES!!! My oldests are soon to be 13, and my youngest is almost 3!
1. In my effort to lose weight before my brother’s wedding, I have lost 7.2 pounds!!!!
2. I am a voracious reader; however, I’ve never really gotten into fiction. I’ve had many friends try over the years to get me into it to no avail. Well, recently, I have come up with an idea for a book. And….it is fiction! God has a sense of humor!
3. I am not going to be the Coupon Queen I thought I would be after all. I realized those Queens spend a lot of time preparing, shopping multiple stores and debating with the cashier. I don’t have that kind of time. Since Giff works at Target and gets discounts, I will focus my efforts on that store only. I get lots of good deals there.
4. My brother and I once had contest who could tread water the longest. I won and rubbed his face in it for a long time, until one day he probably couldnt take it any longer and said, “Fat is more buoyant than muscle!”………Oh no he didn’t! Yes he did!
5. See Fun Friday Fact #1.
Have a good weekend! I plan on it!