Friday, June 27, 2014
Because of Isaac
Life is full of twists and turns. Lots of little girls envision themselves as a mother. Few imagine themselves mother to a special needs child. Even if they did, there would be no concept of exactly what that would mean.
It's difficult to take stock of how exactly Isaac has changed who I am. Many moms write about their babies and how their lives have been forever changed by the jolt of love that engulfed them during the birthing process. They write sincerely of their experiences....but that experience isn't really mine.
Labor and delivery were difficult with Isaac. I came very close to being transfused right after he was born. I wanted to be overwhelmed with emotion but my body was demanding my recovery. I don't remember a lot from those first few hours.
When I was ok again, Isaac was having a difficult time learning to eat and once that was reconciled, he was overcome with colic. Those first few months were difficult and didn't leave a lot of room for abject joy. By the time all of this evened out, Isaac was exhibiting the first signs of autism. He was aloof and looked at my interruption of his day as an annoyance. I spent a lot of time thinking I was doing a horrendous job as a mom.
So our journey has been different and Isaac's impact on my personhood has been different.
Because of Isaac, I am more compassionate. I think...I hope...I want to be anyway. I have learned the painful truth that things are not always as they seem. Behaviors are just behaviors. They do not define a person. They are symptoms...outward expressions of what is going on inside us, how we feel, what we want, our frustrations and our loves. Isaac has taught me to dig for the root of the behavior to better understand those whose path I cross.
Because of Isaac, I have learned that I am stronger and more capable than I ever could have imagined. My husband and I have faced down a room full of twelve school officials bent on selling us on an educational plan that would not have been appropriate for Isaac. We have successfully navigated through up to fifteen of these meetings in a year's time. We have advocated and argued and wept and perservered for our son. We have seen to it that legalities have been followed and that those surrounding Isaac believe in his capabilities.
Because of Isaac, I have learned how weak I am. We are taught that through sheer endurance we can achieve all we ever desire via work and a determined attitude. That's a lie. We need each other. I cannot maneuver this trail by myself. I need love and encouragement and help. I am weak, but so are you. We are all walking wounded who need to rely on each other and on God's grace to reach our destination.
Because of Isaac, I am too honest. I can't hide Isaac's nonconformities...nor do I want to. I see through the facade of perfection that so many pursue. I can't pursue that. I am so very far from perfect. There is no point in painting on a veneer of perfection. I try not to make my honesty hurtful. There is no need to be mean. I kindly refrain from the game.
Because of Isaac, I have become somewht of a recluse. I am not laying blame on the boy. It has been my decision, but it has been to some degree because of the experiences I have had on this road with my son. My honesty has cost me a lot. Believe it or not, some people don't appreciate it when I disagree with them or when I kindly point out that what I hear them saying is something that is not legal, ethical or nice. I have seen people hurt my son and my family and me because we are different. It has knocked the wind out of me. I battle the urge to retreat to the safety of home and the love we have grown there. It is easier to stay here, where there is acceptance and where we are set up to handle Isaac's needs...where we are relatively safe from snide remarks and hurtful stares. Its not my favorite thing to admit, but it a natural reaction...the act of retreat.
But because of Isaac....I continue. One foot in front of the other....one moment at a time. A minute is too long to ask...but I can get through this moment...and then the next and then the next.
Because of Isaac and his brother and sisters. Because of my husband, because of the words of compassion and love that must be shared....because of the stories that need to be told...because we are all valuable and special and amazing...I continue.
Because of Isaac, I have met all of you and you have given Isaac and me a great responsibility. We have been allowed to share with you and to love you and to encourage. Isaac has led me to know you and to hold your hand as you travel your path.