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How Do We Do This?

It has been so humbling to hear from so many of you the past few weeks. Comments on the blog and Facebook page, private messages filled with tears and hope, email after email – please know, I am blessed by every single one.

There is something about hearing the soothing words of another who “gets it”, or one who doesn’t, but offers love just the same.

I can’t even explain how full my heart is when I read your words.

And yet, this fullness is also laced with a very real, very knowing ache. Because I feel your words – the despair, the anger, the frustration and confusion. I know exactly what you describe…I am you.

And lately, so many of you have asked, “How?”

“How do you let go? How do you get through the daily fighting, sometimes violence, and constant heartbreak? The mean spiritedness towards a younger NT sibling. The emotional draining between husband and wife that often leads to fighting? The friends that don’t understand which leads to isolation. How do I start learning to get through it?” – comment on What Can I NOT Do Today?

It’s a big question.

It’s THE question.

It’s one of the reasons my husband and I felt so strongly about my starting this blog.

Because in the chaos of diagnosis, the confusion of one report after another, the frustration of one therapy after the other – it can seem like none of it changes anything. You go through all this, to finally get the professional help you know you need, and you still have to face the severity of your child’s actions and the constant pain your entire family suffers, with no real answers and no real idea of when it will stop.

You ask the OT for advice on the violence, on what to do when your son is so frustrated about what to eat for lunch that he kicks out the back window of your car (I so wish I was not speaking from my own experience). You ask the developmental pediatrician about your younger, neurotypical child – about resources and options to help him deal with the reality of his brother’s behavior. You scour website after website, wondering if it really is this bad for everyone else – looking for someone that will say their child trashed their room every single day this week for no reason at all. You ask for advice on how to deal with the pressure in your marriage, from well meaning marriage “experts” who have no idea about the reality of what your relationship faces every single day and every single night.

And through it all, there will still be the unanswered question – How?

How do you do this?

The short answer is, I have no idea.

The very real truth is, I pray and I pray and I pray that God will do this…because I honestly can’t.

One step at a time.
One step at a time.

And, although I can’t really give a practical answer to “how?”, I do know this – time makes us stronger.

The more we encounter the crazy, the more we can anticipate it. The more we hear from other moms that our kids do that too, the more we relax and not think it is all our fault or that we are just bad parents. The more we try options for treatment, the more we learn about what works and what doesn’t. The more we have good days mixed in with the bad, the more we learn to smile despite the trauma, and laugh in the face of pure craziness.

The more time passes, the more we can endure.

Like an athlete training for a marathon, or a doctor in residency, or a toddler taking first steps – the longer you do it, the better you get,

If I think back to what my reaction used to be when a meltdown happened (usually anger mixed with intense fear) vs. now (a sense of here we go again, but much calmer and ready to help), I realize I am becoming a much more capable momma in all of this.

When my husband and I fight now, we are much better at taking a breath and saying, “We didn’t sleep last night and this has been a long, tough week. Let’s just say sorry and move on.”

Even our NT sibling, has relaxed more as time as gone on. He knows more about what’s happening in his brother’s synapses, and he has seen it enough to know it will pass.

I asked this same question with the same urgency, “How do I do this?”, over and over again. I asked it to anyone who would listen in the beginning. And I became more and more panicked when no one could answer.

What time has shown me is that sometimes, we just have to live through it. We have to smile and laugh as often as we can, despite our circumstances. We have to recognize and celebrate progress, even when it seems slow. We have to cling to the friends that do stay, the ones that fight for us when we feel like we can’t.

We have to breathe the exhausted, overwhelmed sigh, and reach out to our spouse at the end of a brutal day.

And through it all, these are our children. We live through it, and just take the next step, because what else can we do? We “run this race with perseverance” (Hebrews 12:1), because this is what we have been called to do.

We are mommas. These are our babies.

The only answer is –

no matter what, we freely and fiercely love.

 


How Do We Do This_

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. I’ve been following your blog for the past few weeks and just wanted to reach out and say thank you – your words and experiences help me feel more at ease with our situation. Although our situation seems far less intense than others, it still has massive impact on our family and daily lives. Your blog helps me remember the important things when everything else seems to weigh down on our day – Our Children, my relationship with my wife and our desire to make the most of whatever situation we face.

    We are learning, but like everyone we are struggling through it. We constantly remind ourselves it could be worse – our son is healthy and he has a wonderful brain that just works slightly differently to what we consider the “norm”. Your words help reinforce that and remind me to look past the trouble and enjoy the sunnier days.

    Although your readership is possibly targeted more towards the mums out there, I am sure there are Dads, like me, that also read these words – it gives us a better understand of what we are possibly not witnessing throughout the day and helps us to better assist our wives when we are home.

    Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Anthony! I do write primarily to “mommas” but only because that is all I know. Daddies are always welcome here and I know you are not the only one.
      I am touched by your commitment to your wife and your family. Thank you for sharing your heart and your experience.
      With so much respect,
      Shawna

  2. I recently found your blog. Your last couple of entries had hit close to home and I found myself wanting to respond but couldn’t. After reading How do we do this? I knew I had to comment to if anything thank you for sharing your experiences. I know I am not the only mama with a special needs child but on the dark days it can feel like it. My husband and I adopted our son when he was 15 months at 18 months we received a diagnosis. He is now 2 1/2 it has been kinda a whirlwind since…Dr.s, therapy etc…it still feels new. I find myself reading your entries to my husband as away to express how I feel because sometimes I am afraid to say things out loud or don’t want to sound like I’m a bad mama. Reading your blog has helped me realize that things I feel are okay that I am not the only parent who can feel frustrated at times or loose my cool. Everyday I wake up and say its a new day and hope it will be better than the one before.

  3. I have learned to be a better mother through having to learn to parent (and survive mothering) my ASD son. Deep breaths..,,one day, one hour, one moment at a time.

  4. Thank you so much for your encouragement. It does help to look back and see how far we’ve come. To know that we’ve gotten through a lot already.

    I am a believer and that helps immensely. To know that God has placed these kids in my life to take care of.

    One day at a time…

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