Saturday, 25 March 2017

Words

We say them. Or sometimes they get caught in our throat. 

Maybe we type them. Or maybe we change our minds and hit backspace until they all go away. 

There is amazing power in the words we choose to say. And equal power in those we don't. 

A few years ago, after working my way through a lot of loss, I decided that I would write a letter to each of my parents for Christmas.  You see, they have all the material possessions they could ever want or need.  But as parents, the one thing you always want is to know that your kids are okay, and that as much as you may feel like it, they want to know they didn't mess you up too badly.

I didn't have a perfect childhood.  None of us did.  But I had something so precious that it took me no longer being a child to figure it out.  I had unconditional love.  And that's as close to perfect as I think any of us can get. 

Sure, I frustrated my parents.  And I know that I disappointed them on more than one occasion.  But the power in knowing that no matter what, I would always have their love is beyond measure.

I thanked them for doing their best as parents, husband and wife, and friends.  I let them know that I know it was hard at times, and that I appreciated that they never let up, they kept pushing through whatever struggle it was that they were facing.  How brave they were to always choose love, no matter how vulnerable it might make them.  I really wanted to say these things to them, not to those who came to hear the eulogy. 

There is such power in your words, whether spoken or written.  And those who have been there should hear them.

This year has already been a year of loss and struggle for many of those around me.  And I know that some of them feel as though they are walking alone.  Maybe you feel like you're in this battle alone.

I promise you, you are not.  There is someone who wants so badly to walk this with you.  Jesus.  There is such power in His name alone.  And even more power in a relationship with the only one who can truly offer the world. 

Friends, I pray that you would stand in His strength.  He is ready and waiting to do great things for you.  Things you can't even imagine.  You just have to let Him.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for my parents.  And I thank you for waiting by my side for so long, waiting for me to turn to you.  I know that I've made the wrong choices time and again.  Just like I know that you love me in a way that no one else can ever compare to.  I pray that anyone who is feeling alone today would turn to you.  That they would have the chance to feel your beautiful arms surround them with a peace and a strength beyond their wildest dreams.  I pray that we would all turn to you for wisdom in these trying times, and that you would open our eyes to those around us.  Let us use our words to build people up, rather than tear them down.  And above all, let us walk in love, no matter how challenging that may be.





Wednesday, 15 March 2017

She Is Perfect, Just the Way She Is

Sorry I haven't written yet this week.  I fell last week and hurt my wrist and shoulder.  And knee.  Well, essentially my entire left side.  I was carrying my 2 year old when I slipped on an icy sidewalk and turned to the left so that I wouldn't land on her.  And as it turns out, since I am now in my mid-30's, I no longer heal overnight.
While once again lying on my couch, I have had time to ponder. 

This wasn't the post I had been planning and working on, but it's really all that I've been thinking of, so here we go.  :)

Our daughter is still being looked at as gifted and possibly being somewhere on the autism spectrum.  While I've known she is a little quirky, somehow having someone want to put that label there makes me feel like less of a good parent.  I have a wonderful friend who has worked in this field for most of her adult career who keeps assuring me that I'm doing everything right in advocating for my child, offering suggestions when I phone with questions about what to do next.  And I feel confident.

But then my daughter wants to know why we're doing all these tests.  We started with the gifted tests as recommended by our school, which proved she is ahead of the average for math and LA.  But then we noticed that some of her behaviours were vastly different than those of her friends. 

She has always talked (A LOT!!!), and she loves people.  So that means that she's just a little awkward around people, not really understanding how to draw out others people's interests in conversation.  Since this is something I too struggle with, we didn't really think any more of it.

My daughter was worried that she would have to do more computer tests (gifted testing was online for us), since she believed she failed them before.  What really happened was that it was a long, boring, silly test that had her making up words and then trying to spell them.  And we got bored.  And she got bored.  And she did the human thing and she clicked random things because her attention span was all used up for the day.  And so her teacher wanted to make sure that the test was as accurate as possible and came over to help her pay attention to the test.  Her teacher said that DD was answering questions faster than she could read them herself!  It was not a failure at all, we just needed to make sure that the test was done to the best she could so that she would be seen for just who she was, and where she is academically.

And we've been talking to her about how God makes all of us special.  Some people are made to be great at math and talking, learning to read really early and struggle in other areas.  We all have strengths and weaknesses, but we are exactly the way God made us.  And He made us on purpose and with a purpose.  Struggles make us stronger and give us the opportunity to learn.

I talked to her about the testing that we are considering now and that there would be no computers.  This would be one on one with another adult.  There are no right or wrong answers for these tests, because they are just looking to meet her where she is and help us to make a plan.  We are all trying to figure out how we can help her to be the best version of her that she can be. 

When I told her that we are hoping that we can learn some new tools for making friends better.  And maybe we could find someone to help her to be more coordinated (the girl is just like I was when I was little, which means she is constantly falling over herself.)  And her eyes lit up.  So much.  And it broke my heart that this beautiful little girl, who can speak at a grade level 5-6 years ahead of her age, would cherish being able to walk in a straight line without falling over.  It is so easy to concentrate on the fact that she is so smart and forget that just because she is, doesn't mean that she doesn't struggle or notice that she's different.

The more that we've read, the more we truly see some really cle
ar signs that she fits in the spectrum.  Of the 4 personality marker types we've researched, 2 of them must have been written about her.  I mean, they were her to a "T".  And it got me to thinking that there may be many other people in our boat.  Knowing that there is something a little different about their child but not being able to quite put their finger on it.

Before her, I wasn't a Mom.  She didn't come with a manual.  And for our family, she is just my darling daughter.  I don't want to think of her struggling.  It is so hard to stand by and watch when all you really want to do is rush in and fix everything.  And sometimes, you can't.  And that sucks.

I know that we are in for a long road to a diagnosis.  And that we will have a lot of questions along the way.  And I'm going to try to write about it (while still maintaining my daughters privacy), so that you can walk with us.  And maybe we can walk this walk together.  Or maybe it will just help you to know that you are not alone in this process.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for each of my children.  I thank you that you have made each of them so different, and yet so perfect.  God, I ask that you would guide us in raising them, and that you would fill in all the holes we leave.  That you would open the eyes of our hearts on those difficult days, so that we could see them the way you see them.  And that we would depend on you for strength and perseverance as we advocate for what's best for them.  Help us to find our support network, so that we know we are not the only ones going through this, and that our children are perfect because You made them.  In your name.  Amen.