Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why Me?

Do you ever struggle with why me? Why did this happen to me? Why does my child have to struggle so hard? Why is my family hurting?

I’ve been caught up in it. A big why me went like this; all my life I wanted a Mama’s boy, a boy full of affection who I could take walks with, tuck into bed and talk to, why can’t he go to sleep? Why can’t I give him a proper hug? Why can’t he just say, I love you?

Why does my son have autism?

Why, why, why…

It’s easy for me to fall into a pity party. I’ve been judged, anyone ever here, “if you just disciplined your son you wouldn’t have these problems.” I’ve felt attacked. Anyone else have a disagreement in an IEP, one against ten? I’ve been accused of resorting to quackery. Has anyone ever given your child a food you asked them not to?

Poor, poor, poor me…

You know what I’ve learned, to put it bluntly, this type of thinking sucks. It doesn’t help me, encourage me, or give me any kind of strength. As a matter of fact, this kind of thinking can cause me to fall deeper into depression, immobilize me, and can fill me with fear.

When I get caught up in these moments in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy language I work on retraining my thoughts. The bible calls this “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

This is what retraining my thoughts looks like.

Autism has humbled me. Before I had my son I had a successful career, but I was shallow and prideful. I would have been the one to tell you, “just give me your child for a weekend and I bet I can get him back on track. After all everyone knows, poorly behaved children are a result of poor parenting skills…"

Autism has changed my perspective on what’s important. Today I’m thankful for a healthy family, thankful my son can talk, thankful my marriage is intact, thankful I have enough food to eat, a roof over my head and a means of continuing to provide that for my family. Take a look at the world many people can’t say that.

Autism has drawn me closer to God. I don’t believe that God is punishing me. That’s simply not the truth of the Bible. I believe God is using “all things for good.” I’m a better, stronger, more tolerant, understanding, and forgiving person now. I can relate to so many more people. I don’t want to pretend to be perfect, or have it all together, perfect people aren’t approachable and they aren’t real. I’m flawed just like you, and I want to love you! Not because I’m mother Teresa, believe me I’m not! But because God has loved on me through this and given me more love to share, “my cup over flows.”

I do my best to answer my why me’s now simply with this statement:

Autism is a trial and it is a gift. I know God uses all things for His good because I can see it in my life.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1 Peter 1:3-6

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fighting for Geometry

Sometimes on the inside I just want to scream. You can look at me I look calm, I talk intelligently, but on the inside my mind is going crazy. This happened at my son's latest IEP. His math teacher didn't want to put G in regular Geometry. G had a B- the last semester of Algebra and he didn't want to put G in regular Geometry? When I asked him why, he said that he didn't think G could "handle it."

As soon as I heard that a slew of curse words went running through my mind, I could feel my muscles tense up, and I had to take a deep breath because I wanted to take that teacher by his tie and string him up!

Its time like these I have inner wars with myself. I'm suppose to love my enemies according to the teachings of Jesus. Enemies against me and what I want to do I can handle that, but when I perceive someone as against my son...

I'll be honest I wasn't kind, I wasn't very civil, but I didn't lash out. Instead I asked if anyone else with a B average had to take remedial Geometry?

"No, but that's not the point. I don't think he can handle it."

With a slew of obscenities flying through my mind, I prayed God please help me because I want this guy to go down. Then I said, "I think my son deserves the same opportunities as any other student. I'm not asking for special accommodations, a tutor, or exceptions. I'm just asking you to treat him like anyone else. I'll never sign an IEP that I feel violates my son's rights."

At this point the administrator broke in and said something like of course G could go into regular Geometry and if we need to switch classes mid semester we can look at it. To be honest I can't remember exact words because I was in a blur, trying to hold myself together, trying not to give the math teacher the evil eye, trying to be like Jesus.

Then the meeting was over, I got what I felt G needed, and everyone seemed fine. I'm glad I didn't burn another bridge. I know this might sound crazy, but I don't feel angry towards the math teacher I just feel peaceful.