Saturday, September 7, 2013

Joys and Challenges

Matthew's new school schedule, combined with the older kids' school schedule, has not allowed time for Matthew to nap on school days. The first week was rough, but the second week has been brutal.  Matthew is usually so happy and vibrant, but now he mixes that more frequently with unhappy and violent, with equal enthusiasm on both ends of the spectrum.  He throws things.  He hits.  He bites.  Sometimes with cause, sometimes with cause that we don't understand.  He doesn't do this at school, but he is doing it more and more at home.  I attribute it to his increasing deficit of sleep and his new routine-- at least I hope that is what it is.  This has not been a fun time in our house. 

As we've been experiencing this more and more this past week, and I've fallen further and further into despair, I've seen a couple of viral pieces relating to special needs parenting.  Some have spoken to me, others have missed their mark a bit.

There is this one.  I appreciate the sentiment, but this just doesn't feel right to me.  I wish it were true, but many moments, hours, and days I know this to not be true for me.

Very sweet story attached with this picture can be found here.
There is this one.  It is probably a little closer to how I feel, but as I parent all the kids but especially Matthew, I often feel much less than special.

Then, I read this.  It brought me to tears. 

The Special Mother
Erma Bombeck
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, patron saint, Cecilia"
"Rutledge, Carrie, twins, patron saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity"

Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God, "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it."

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles, "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'. She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and know it!"

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice...and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."
I am so very imperfect, and love the idea that maybe those imperfections were the perfect match for Matthew and Alyssa and Jackson too.  I don't have to be 'special', I just have to be the perfect fit for my kids. 

Hopefully I can be that this next week as we work to figure out how to (a) help Matthew get more sleep and (b) help Matthew handle his emotions better.   Until we figure it out, you may hear me say "joys and challenges" under my breath time and time again.  It is how I remind myself that with each phase come joys (Matthew says 'mama'!) and challenges (Don't hit the dog or your brother!).

1 comment:

  1. You will soon get into a routine that will help. Is their any other parents that walk with their kids. Maybe join a carpool, so that you can stay home at pickup at least a couple of days, so he can nap. The first couple of weeks always hits with a ton of bricks. Elizabeth had 3 doctors appointments last week and will have more this week.