I wouldn't be honest with myself or others if I didn't admit that at times I yearn and grieve for "what might have been." To want so badly for Brock on his days off from school to be able to play with his sister for countless hours, talking and laughing with her. To want to have no where to go, no appointments, no therapy. To just be.
As much as I would love to have all that and more I wouldn't trade it for my Elise. I can't put into words how, without her saying anything, she is a source of light. She shines Christ's light. I have seen the way she can effect people. She usually brings out the best in others: their compassion, their ability to care for and serve, their loving kindness, their patience and nonjudgmental attitudes. Their selflessness.
However I also wouldn't be honest with myself or others if I didn't admit that we have a lot of hard times with her as well. Incredibly hard times, ones that have brought me to my knees in humility knowing there is no way I can do it alone.
But it's okay.
When you see me barely walk into church with 4 kids in tote and Elise is already in meltdown mode, I may struggle at the moment but it's okay, I'm okay because so many come to my rescue and help.
When we're invited to a Valentine party and most of the time Elise is crying, it's okay because she got invited to a party!
When again at church I am saved by her angelic "helper" to sit with her for the remainder of the meetings I know it's okay because a text says, "It was the best part of my day. Thank you."
When she has a meltdown in the hospital waiting room and there is no where else to go, it's okay because it teaches me I can never judge. You never know.
When in a moment of weakness all I want is for that typical relationship with her siblings, Brock comes running into my room saying he took Elise into the sensory room and is dancing and being crazy and making her laugh, I take a deep breath, smile and thank God, knowing it's okay.
I am okay. I am better than okay! I am being humbled every day by God's tender mercies, by His earthly angels. Elise is letting me and so many serve her, bringing all of us closer to our Savior. It's okay because without her, without these experiences I wouldn't have become as dependent on Christ and His Atonement as I am now. Nothing, nothing can ever make me regret or wish it were differently in spite of the hard times.
So if you pity me or feel bad when I'm having a difficult time with Elise, know that at the moment I may not be okay but overall I am more than okay because I have Christ in my life and... #BecauseofHim
I have this...
As I entered the pediatrician's room I saw it; the paper that mocked me for months about how I didn't know Elise. How did I not know? When did I miss the signs? How did I miss the signs? Why didn't anyone say anything?
And here it was again, lying on the counter. A swarm of emotions came over me. Immediately tears entered my eyes when this same paper appeared 2 years ago which changed my life forever. Even though I already knew (or did I?) that Cal was on track my heart still raced as I answered each question. The haunting question, "Does your child sometimes stare at nothing or wander with no purpose?" burned in my memory. It was a day I will never forget and one I used to try to forget.
Within a minute I was done and felt satisfied with the answers. The pediatrician confirmed there was no sign of concern for Cal. I relayed my feelings to her of how much that meant. Three weeks after we found out about Elise I had my ultrasound to see if we were having a boy or girl. When I learned it was a boy fear came over me, knowing my chances of having another child with autism were greater especially with a boy (we have since learned that Elise does not have autism).
I have learned for myself the Holy Ghost is in fact a Comforter. Normally I would have taken that fear and ran with it, letting it consume and overtake me. Over those coming weeks and months I had an indescribable feeling of peace that all was well. At times I would try to think I should be more worried than I was but I honestly couldn't even make myself worried. That feeling of peace was so strong and I knew that everything would be just fine.
I strongly encourage all parents to screen each child at least at 18 months and 24 months. It doesn't take long. It helps you be aware of where your child should be or signs to look for. You can go to this website to print your own autism screening.
I LOVE being a mom to my 5 kids; one with special needs. There is no greater joy than being a parent! I love each one individually but this blog will mostly focus on our daughter with special needs and our journey with her. Thanks for reading!