Watching Them Play

Four backs all turned to me, are sitting happily on the blacktop of the driveway. They are noticeably minus one.  That one is facing me. Facing the others, too.  It struck me afresh that “one of these kids is not like the other.”

Three siblings sit next to each other, enjoying the cool of the shade. My own two children are in the mix, too, but I can’t help but notice how different Sweetboy can look from other kids, just by his choice of seating position.

It’s in these moments that I feel lonely.

Watching him play.

Realizing that he always manages to find a way to separate himself from the crowd. Albeit unintentionally.

Even a crowd of well-loved friends.

I listen to chatter about water balloons, all spent and shriveled up in their burst state – a million little shards of latex balloon peppering the driveway.  Much like the shards of my heart in this moment.

Their conversation is like popcorn kernels exploding in the air.

“I so won that round!”

“My baby water balloon never popped. Look, I’ve still got it!”

“Maybe we can fill up more after we take a snack break?”

“That was fun!”

And then, his own comment. Different.

“Do you want to swing now?”

I forget sometimes. I forget that this child, this Sweetboy, he marches to the beat of his own drum. It is not the music that other kids his age often hear.

This melody is an awesome and awful tribute to how differently my child’s mind processes activities that he participates in. Conversations that he carries on with friends often reveal more about what he’s not into than what he is. It’s a stark reminder that the music he hears has strains running through it that others cannot.

I hear it, though.

In these moments, I do.

And I see it.

And I still, nine years after that first Autism diagnosis, I still rail against what I see. And, what I hear.

Until…

My heart reminds me that he does, indeed, have friends to have conversations with.  There are activities he participates in.

Until I listen a little longer to hear, “No, we still want to play with water balloons, Sweetboy.”

Until I get to hear him answer back, “Okay. They are fun!”

And I feel okay again.

Watching them play, watching him play, the music carries on. I feel sure that he’s going to be okay.

Yes indeedy.

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Find Your Special

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APRIL FOOLS!

(Someone go check on Sweetboy.  I’m pretty sure he’s online trying to buy us a house in Disney World as I type!)

Special is as special does. (Did Forrest Gump say that?) And, since my sweet family has just come off of the high that was “The Lego Movie”, we’re all feeling like we really can be special.  And, that everything is awesome. I have to admit, I’m a fan of the message that movie sent.

Find your Special.

We’re all diamonds in the rough.  Some of our rough is just… well, rougher than others.

Back to being special.  Because, really, don’t we all long to be?

Tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day.  If you’ve been around here for any length of time, then you already know the scoop.  Sweetboy was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, an Autism Spectrum Disorder, when he was two years old.  You can read how we roll with it here and how the depression hit because of it here.

I think it’s safe to say that this day holds a very special place in my heart.  Greater awareness helps everyone – the children, the educators, the parents, the care providers and the larger community.

The theme this year is “Light It Up Blue” for Autism. You can find out more about that here.

And while we’re talking about being special, unique, and yea, maybe even nerdish, please! Go check out this awesome answer actor Wil Wheaton gave to a young girl’s question about being called a nerd at Comic Con.  So. Amazing.

We need more of exactly this in humanity.

Less looking for how others are weird and more finding your Special.

Yes indeedy.

Dontcha’ think?

Speaking With an Accent for Love

Those stormy moments we have with Sweetboy? They are always, eventually, countered by the treasured sound of his laughter. His giggle and guffaw do more to soothe our tattered hearts…  I believe that God provided Sweetboy’s laughter as a gift, wrapped up in this quirky melancholy son of ours.

And nothing makes my Sweetboy laugh harder than people talking in accents. If you ask him why, he’ll tell you that he finds different accents “interesting”.  And, in his mind apparently, interesting = hilarious.

This child is obsessed with All Things Geography, so it should come as no surprise that he enjoys learning how the people speak over in, say… Wales.  Or Mozambique. Or France.

I seized the moment, recently, when we were in the midst of a full on meltdown, to try out an accent that I’d been working on to make him laugh. (Try asking Mr. Google how to speak in a Welsh accent, some time.  Pure entertainment.) And it worked. Oh, how it worked!

He instantly snapped out of his deep dark place and asked, “Do you think they speak like that on the Western border of England, too, mama?”

Wait. What?

“Wales is on the western border of England. So, do you think that the people who live in England on the western border, but on the England side, not the Wales side…”

I now see who got my propensity for wordiness.

Seeing something worth moving his mind out of that negative parking space for, we were off on a You Tube search for “Welsh Accents”.

Just a few days ago, it was National Drink Wine Day. Serious. I took that as a sign that I should work on my Italian accent.  Maybe from the Tuscany region?

Yes.

Yes indeedy.

Crazy Demons, BE OUT!

When things go stir-crazy around here, Sweetman and I have a little catchphrase we use to lighten the situation: “Crazy Demons, BE OUT!” (And for some reason, you simply must say this as if you’re from the deep deep South.)

We use it jokingly. But, once we get a moment to catch our breath, we realize The Current State of Crazy for what it is –not of God.  Our God is not a God of chaos.  This, we know to be true.

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So when Sweetgirl starts sassin’ it up or Sweetboy has a meltdown of epic proportions, we can be heard loudly proclaiming things like, “Sassy Demons, BE OUT!”

Here’s the thing, – I know full well that their Crazy gets turned on by their deepest insecurities.

And why?

Because that’s true of me, too.

When Sweetboy is in the midst of an Epic Detour down some mental rabbit hole, ultimately, he is questioning if what we tell him about himself is true.  “Am I really loved? Am I really a necessary member of this family?”.  His heart, clouded by the darkness that lingers with the growing knowledge that Autism makes him “different”, will delve deeply into All The Negative.  And we don’t want him to stay there. So we jokingly say, “Negative Demons BE OUT!”. He cracks a small grin and then tries, oh, how he tries, to go back to that dark place.  But we won’t let him. We want him to hear, again and again, that what is true is that he is loved, not for what he can accomplish or for how he looks, or doesn’t. We love him because he is ours.

In those moments, I’m often whispered to by my own Abba – “You are loved, already, too.  You are mine, too.”

And when Sweetgirl throws down in one of her spectacular efforts to Control All Things, she’s really just asking if what we’re telling her will benefit her – in the way she most desires it to. As her Crazy ramps up with each deafening “I don’t want to”, we can be heard singing, “Looney Tune Demons BE OUT!”. And she giggles and protests that she isn’t a wascally wabbit.  And we take the opportunity to remind her that her tantrums aren’t beneficial to her getting her way. That you win more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Softly, I hear my Adonai reminding me of the same. “This battle you are fighting? It isn’t for you. It is not necessary. Leave it. Follow me.”

Oh, how patiently my gracious God bears with me!

Indeed.

Teach me, God, to filter all that I take in and sift it with your Holiness. Take this broken heart of mine and make it whole with Your Truth.

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I’m linking up with the community over at the P31 Online Bible Study Blog. We continue to journey through Made to Crave, by Lysa TerKeurst, and today, we’re chatting about how our insecurities can push us into crazy modes (and a couple of other things that try to steal our peace). Crazy Good Stuff!

OBSBlogHop

How About Some Shorter Days

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This has been a vacation week full of laughter and tears (goodbye routine!). We’ve been mending bodies that are trying desperately to stay healthy, enjoying family time in another state, and playing games that require a doctorate in astrophysics to understand.

It’s been fun.

Wouldn’t you agree, Sweetman?

Sweetman???

I think he went on a long quick Starbucks run.

Desperate times…

In addition to all of the fun and games, we’ve had a few new interesting conversations, too.

“I’m not gonna teacher you any more daddy.”, promised Sweetgirl.

“What’s that now?”, he asked.

“Teacher you! You KNOW, Daddy, drive you crazy.”, she explained.

“Ah, you mean torture me?”

“Yeah, that word.”

So she says…

And then, Sweetboy… He who is obsessed with All Things Maps and All Things Countries, presented us with this little list of Countries that interest him. Some, he’d like to visit.  Some, he hopes never to have to.

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Beware the Puffer Fish!

As of press time, he informed me there are new ones he’d like to add.  And I’m guessing poor Papua New Guinea will be on the left; for, as we talked last night, he made sure to tell us that they wear scary looking masks there.

And, with that pertinent information, I know you are waiting on the edge of your seats for the newest additions. I can only imagine that you are especially eager to find out which column each additional country will land in.

He says they will be forthcoming.

Oh children… how I love you and treasure this time with you. And, to be quite honest, I’d prefer some shorter days and longer years, please.

Yes indeedy.

Me Neither

You know that moment when you are reprimanding your five-year old for over-dramatizing her cough so as to freak her brother out with a pending pretend puke and in that moment where you are showing her what you do not want her to do, you gag yourself?

Me neither.

You know that facebook status update where you share with The Lord and all His people that you had left-over birthday cake for lunch and are happy about it? But then, the next day, you come down with Strep and jokingly hop back on to tell folks that it was the cake’s fault, but then people agree and provide you with information about how sugar depresses the immune system and now you feel like dirt on top of feeling like mud?

Me neither.

Have you ever had The Sick so bad that your husband had to come home mid-day and your quirky child refused to be on the same side of the house with you for fear that he would “catch” whatever you had? And you start thinking that if a Big Disease is ever in your future, it’s going to be awful hard to love on a child that insists on remaining 135 feet away from you at all times and so you start crying and praying that never happens all while it feels like a spiky golf ball is stuck in the back of your throat?

Me neither.

That moment that your husband rounds the corner with a steaming bowl of soup broth and his iPad and a tv tray so that you can watch your favorite comedy while sipping merciful goodness to soothe your sore throat and your heart swells with gratitude for the gift of this man and you love him more now than you ever did, but as you are thinking that and getting emotional, your throat threatens to revolt by making it so that you can never ever swallow again, so you have to squash the thought for pain’s sake?

Me neither.

You know that beautiful moment when your medication finally kicks in and you can slip off into blissful slumber?

Yeah. That.

 

For When Your Child Doesn’t Fit In

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While we all have those parenting moments where we notice something a little quirky about our kids – not all of us have the privilege of anxiously wondering how much that quirk will hold them back socially. And then the day comes when it does.  And that cute little quirk becomes a massive elephant in the room of your child’s social life.  Others notice the quirk(s) and begin to act as if… As if your child couldn’t possibly be liked by very many people because she/he is different. As if they are already on the path to Outcast. As if they are not worth the effort.

And it cuts.

Deep.

My(in)Able & (in)Cluded group of ladies provide a safe place for me to feel those emotions and process them.  Follow me over to my (in)courage community group to keep reading. Click the button below.

InCourage Is My superpower

 

Life Interrupted

Some of God’s greatest gifts truly are wrapped in unlikely packages. Mine came in all 6 pounds and 10 ounces of baby goodness.  Sweetman and I loved every single inch of this package.  He seemed perfect.  We dreamed of life as parents of a bouncing baby boy.

Two years later, our lives were interrupted by the diagnosis of Autism.  I could try to tell you how I wrapped myself around that diagnosis and accepted it with open arms, knowing that if “God brought us to it, He’d see us through it.”  But I didn’t.  I really didn’t.

Here’s what I did do:

  • I cried out to God for answers
  • I leaned hard and heavy on friends who loved us despite my child’s behaviors
  • I continued to believe God had His hand in this, on us, and around him
  • I learned the power of a desperate prayer thrown heavenward morning, noon, or night

There were moments where I longed  are still moments when I long to be able to take part in those conversations where I talk about the sports that are played, the interests that are pursued, the unique passions that are on display “already”.  But I can’t.

What I can do, however, is to stick with it.

Because there isn’t any easy button for this life interruption.

But God…

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I realize, now, that the healing of this mama heart of mine is going to be a life-long process. And there will be more heartache along the way. But, you know what?  I can honestly tell you that I’m okay with that.

In fact, I say “Yes!” to God because my Sweetboy is fearfully and wonderfully made.  By Him.  For me.

And through it all, I’ve come to understand that this child? He is indeed perfect.

For us.

Oh yes he is.

I’m joining a community of over 24,000 Jesus lovin’ ladies from all over God’s Green Earth for a blog hop today.  We are studying the book “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” by Lysa TerKeurst over at Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Study. If you’d like to read some of the other beautiful words from this online community, click the button below.

OBSBlogHop

Rhythm Sticks

Rhythm

Go…

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There is a predictable rhythm to the days during the school year.  Now that summer has graced us with her presence, I find that rhythm interrupted in all the right ways.  Lazy mornings are spent waffling, the edible way.  Bike rides are taken, the leisurely way. Play dates are spent poolside, dripping wet and exhausted from all of the playing.

The summer routine isn’t.  And this family needs that.  We schedule, because we have to.  Pervasive Developmental Disorder does not like unstructured days and activities that have no defined ending and beginning.  But this mama’s heart needs that sometimes.  And some of the other family members do, too.

So it is provided.  The child who needs the routine and structure and predictable rhythm to his days seems to be endowed with an extra measure of grace and willingness to roll with it; just during these precious summer months.  This is a gift.  We all know it.

And we all cling to it.

Gratefully.

Yes indeedy.

I’m joining in with my community of friends and fellow writers and heart-sharers over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday place. If you’d like to read what others had to say about Rhythm, or add your own thoughts, join us by clicking the button below. Happy Friday my friends!

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A Social Story About Shorts

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Shorts. We’re talking about shorts.  The kind you wear.

I’m over at (in)courage today in my (in)Able and (included) community, writing a social story about shorts.  And a deep need for something bigger than All The Patience to lean on when the learning curve is steep.

Join me over there, won’t you?  Just click the button below and you’ll be whisked away.  See you there!

InCourage Is My superpower

Yes indeedy!