There are a few moments in my life that cannot be undone. The ones that stick with me, stand out…the ones that no matter how much time passes, I can still remember vividly, what I wore, her voice, what he looked like, how I felt.
There are a handful of these moments that I carry with me, everywhere I go –
The moment I saw my newborn son for the first time.
The moment my mom called me to say that my dad was in the hospital and would likely die.
The moment I felt God’s presence, as real if not more real, than any other.
The moment my husband said, “I do.”
The moment the doctor said the word “autism”.
The moment my youngest son grabbed my face, pulled it close to his, and whispered, “I wuv you, Momma,” for the first time.
A strange mix – so much joy and so much pain. All jumbled together into the very moments that define my life. These moments are precious, every single one.
They are uniquely mine – as a wife, as a mom, as a daughter, and as a human being.
After several weeks of back and forth, this blood test and that prescription, that hospital and this office, we finally have another diagnosis, and another moment to add to the list.
My oldest son has Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Sjogren’s Syndrome. This has caused him to have arthritis in one hip and in both ankles. It requires more medicines than I ever thought it possible to even get him to take. Our next steps include major diet changes, lots and lots of doctors appointments, more blood tests, another MRI and I have no idea what else because that is all just in the next few weeks. I cannot even allow myself to think beyond this.
The truth is, although it is not the news I was hoping for, I am grateful that we know. I am grateful that we can start to figure this thing out.
And, it’s a lot.
I am freaking out about the diet changes, mostly because I know sometimes getting him to eat anything at all is a win.
I am reading as much as possible about how a person on the spectrum (and/or with sensory processing disorder) can experience pain, and communicate when they are in pain, very differently than my neuro-typical self. More importantly, I am trying to figure out how best to help my son’s doctors understand what this means for their examinations.
Mostly, I really am just enjoying this kid. He has been in a great mood since the medicines started providing some relief from the constant pain. He has been playing with his brother, smiling more, hugging me all the time, and making jokes with Mick.
It’s like we got him back.
The truth is, I missed him. I really missed him. I didn’t realize how much, until he returned to us, all smiley and goofy.
These glimpses of my sweet boy… I can’t tell you how much they mean and how encouraged I am that we will be able to help him in all of this.
When You Live Your Life One Moment At A Time
So now we know.
It feels like everything has changed. And it feels like nothing has really changed. Because, just like you, I wake up every day determined to do the best I can.
I fail, all the time.
I pray, all the time.
I see progress, some of the time. (He took and bath and brushed his teeth without any major drama? Praise Jesus!)
I am just like you – I am a mom doing the best I can with what I’ve got.
The best I can do means messiness. The best I can do means joy and sorrow and laughter and grace and anger and beauty and love.
It means another moment in a doctor’s office, another moment wrapping my arms tight around this boy, another moment laughing out loud as the four of us play, another moment crying because I just don’t know what to do next, another moment and another and another, irrevocably woven into the fabric that makes up my son’s childhood, my motherhood, and my lifetime.
I want to gather them all up, so that none can slip away.
Moment by moment – this is how we live.
I can’t imagine anything more precious.
This post originally appeared here on Not The Former Things in 2015.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.