Routines. Structure. Plans. We all need them. We all make them. And, well…sometimes we don’t stick to them. Most of us can handle a bit of spontaneity. And, well…others can’t.
Routines. Structure. Plans. We are a family that must make plans. We must have a routine. A finely structured plan to get through the day. Navigate a new situation. Make sense of the world. Our little guy craves it. He needs it. He comes completely unglued without it.
The priceless smile above? Those come in the moments in between the meltdowns. The crawling and kicking on the floor. The tantrums that wreak havoc on a mother’s weary soul. The chaos born of a day with no routine. No structure. Wrecked plans.
And, I’ll be honest. On those days I just want to walk away. When I can’t take another day of the screams and the slaps. The grunts. The deciphering of verbal cues and codes I don’t understand. When I don’t want to figure out what triggered this meltdown. When I don’t want to fathom how this same kid can solve his sister’s math problems, and use the word “complicated” in a complete and perfect sentence, but can’t tell me he is “hungry,” “tired,” or just downright “angry!”
Those moments, I honestly want to lose the smile I keep plastered on my face. The smile that lets the world think these behaviors, these meltdowns don’t get the best of me. They don’t break me. They don’t make me want to completely unravel.
But, they do…
Until God reminds me of the moments in between. Of those small moments given of which we can rejoice. Like the little legs that had such a hard time walking. The ones that are now pedaling a bike. Of the small voice that often comes out in grunts, but now utters with such pride….”Mommy, Mommy! Look at me go!”
Yes, Mommy. Look at him go. Can you cherish this moment in between all those others?
Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
There are many wastelands on this journey through the wilderness known as autism. Many times when the strategies we have to calm our little boy. The carefully structured routines. The plans we make to keep him focused, soothed, and ward off frustration just come unraveled. And, there are times we want to come unraveled, too. When it all just gets to be too much. When the smiles fade, and we just want to throw up our hands and give up.
Yet, God gives us small pathways and rivers in this wilderness. In our wasteland.
He gives us the moments in between.
The moments of belly laughter.
The moments of sweet hugs.
The moments of endless banter on sharks and plants.
The moments of smiles that light up a room.
The moments when the smiles are a little easier to plaster on our own faces.
The moments of joy when we see that little boy go.
Can you cherish those moment in between?
When it gets too hard to parent this child I have been given. When I just can’t find the strength to handle his meltdowns. When I want to unravel right before his eyes, I must remember those moments that make all of these not so wonderful ones worth all the therapy. All the schedules. All the finely mastered routines worth it. Remember the same God who gave this child to me, is the same God who mastered this little boys smile. His intelligence. His warm cuddles.
The same God who gives us those precious moments in between.