I took this picture last week on a family vacation to Washington. It reminds me how small we are and how big God really is.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, our oldest son was re-diagnosed. His original diagnosis was ADHD with Anxiety, OCD, and impulse control issues. After almost two years of in and out of public schools, major anxiety issues, too many melt downs to count, medication that we thought we would never use, my husband and I felt the diagnosis was incorrect. It just seemed like it didn't quite fit. After months of cleaning the slate of doctors, finding new doctors, testing, filling out questionnaires, more testing, more interviewing, re-stating and re-telling how dramatic the last couple of years have been and how they have consumed our lives, the new diagnosis was Aspergers.
This was not an easy switch. Although it makes much more sense and answers so many questions (regarding his behavior), a diagnosis like this hurts so much as a parent. With ADHD, there was always the hope that he would grow out of it, that things would change with puberty, etc. With Asperger's, we have had to come to terms with.... this is just who he is, it is completely neurological, this is how his brain is "wired". It is not something he will EVER grow out of. Wow! That is hard, I mean really hard as a parent to grasp and accept.
We have ran the gamut of emotions. I, in particular, have had a lot of anger. And unfortunately, that anger has come out towards our son. I hate Aspergers! I hate the stress it puts on our son, our family, and our lives. Aspergers makes everything seem like a challenge. It means witnessesing grown adults judging your child and his behaviors. It means watching as other's whisper things under their breath, roll their eyes, or get annoyed with the presence of your child. It means feeling like no one else understands your parenting. It means watching your child time and time again struggle in social settings. Writing and admitting those sentences brings tears to my eyes. It stings, it makes me feel like a horrible mom.
This anger has made me question God and why He trusted us with our son. I haven't felt equipped for this. It took my mom giving me a bit of hard love to really come to terms with all of this. She told me that I am angry at him (our son) because he has a diagnosis that I don't want him to have. She said it would be like if he passed away, I would go through a period of anger while I worked through each emotion. That realization hurt but it also made me see that I have to change. It is not his fault, he is not a different person because of the diagnosis. I hate it for him, I have never wanted anything like this for him. As moms, we have dreams for our kids. We dream that they will be successful in school, makes friends easily, and become productive adults and citizens. I often wonder what this diagnosis will mean for his future and the dreams I have for him. So many things/milestones will always be a struggle for him. Will he be able to have a family? Will he be able to hold a job and consider himself successful? Will he be able to love? We he be able to move out and live on his own? Will my husband and I ever have the house to ourselves? (when you have three children that thought occurs often:) )
I have prayed, screamed, thrown huge temper tantrums since this diagnosis. I try to remind myself that it could be so much worse. He is healthy, bright, ridiculously smart. He was born with congenital heart disease and survived three heart surgeries. I should be thanking God, not yelling at him and threatening him that if he doesn't heal my child He will have to deal with me... I have learned that the "momma bear" comes out at people and at God. :) Thankfully, my God will give me the love, grace, and mercy I need to carry on. He will provide us with the tools and people we need to help our son. He already knows our future and the future of our son. He holds us in the palm of his hand as he takes care of us during this storm. Thankfully, He trusts us more than we trust ourselves.
I have come to realize that I have been so selfish. I have been acting like this diagnosis has happened only to me. I have been stomping around in such a horrible mood, blaming everyone and everything. Yes, this is part of my journey, but it is really our son's journey. I think God gave him to us because he knew we would not give up, that we would put endless hours of research, therapy, and fight into our son's diagnosis and treatment. My mom has always said that I am her greatest accomplishment. I understand that now. I also understand that this is not the time for me to feel as if everything is easy and how it should be. That comes later in life. I don't think we are suppose to feel like we are doing everything right as parents. If that were the case, we wouldn't cherish the tiny milestones and treasure the huge accomplishments. A simple hug from a child who is not easily affectionate would not stop us in our paths and bring tears to our eyes.
HE knows what HE is doing... now I just need to remind myself that HE is at the wheel and HE will deliver my family safely.
It is all in HIS timing... not mine.
* I realize that this post may be a little too honest form some people. I am not writing this for everyone. I am writing this to help myself heal and for any parent who has had a difficult time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I am writing this for those who do not judge because far too many times they have endured the feeling of being judged.
Thank you to those of you who have kept our family in your prayers. You have given us strength and endless encouragement. We love each of you!