As I’m writing this, it is the one year anniversary of getting Mr. T’s initial diagnosis for Apraxia of Speech. My little insomniac is still playing away in his room at 9:32 on a Friday night and I’m ready for bed. This journey so far has taught me so much and I pray that God continues to use it to shape me into a more gentle and patient spirit and a mother that truly brings glory to Him through the children He has entrusted to me.
So there’s this moment when your heart skips a beat and you literally can’t breathe when you are told your child is not “perfect”. Your wonderful, amazing, blessing from above is not what you were expecting. That picture you had in your head of your child and their life is suddenly shattered. The bicycle riding, the incredible sweet bedtime conversations with your 2 year old, the birthday parties, the carefree days and typical milestone expectations. Gone. Just. Like. That. The real beauty of the special needs community is that no matter what your child’s needs may be or how severe they are, we all know that any “diagnosis” causes the parent grief. Because it’s medical. We can’t change it, we can’t “fix” it, we can’t take it away and give that perfect picture back to our child or to our self.
We understand that it causes pain and anger and frustration. Be it Autism, Down Syndrome, Celiac, Apraxia, Diabetes, CP, APD or whatever set of initials, it means things must change. Diet, therapy appointments, doctor visits, learning an alternate form of communication, finding a support group for them and for you and dealing with a “new” normal for your family. It causes stressed emotions and relationships and it is downright lonely. Especially at first. After you go through the stages of grief and begin to settle in, you slowly begin to understand the power of yet.
A conjunction that holds the future. Yet is defined as: But at the same time; but nevertheless. My child can’t walk yet. My child can’t speak yet. My child can’t sit still yet. My child can’t do a jumping jack yet. Yet gives our children a freedom to keep reaching for goal after goal after goal. It gives us, the parents, a freedom from self imposed guilt, from the comparison trap, and a limitless supply of hope. Helen Keller is a wonderful example of what yet can do. Her parents didn’t give up, they believed she just hadn’t found the right help yet. Then they found Anne Sullivan. If it weren’t for yet, we would not know who Helen Keller was. Yet is a big deal and it is a word we should all use more!
In our journey, I have found yet to show up alongside grace (unmerited favor, or in plain speak a whole lotta forgiveness, understanding and patience) more often than not. Mr. T cannot manage zippers yet. Grace allows me to keep my cool when he insists on doing it himself anyway. Strangers cannot understand 80% of what Mr. T says yet. Grace allows me to show kindness and sometimes mercy when I have to explain his challenges and why he sometimes does what he does. All the yets we have already conquered give me so much hope. All that hope allows me to show grace. And that grace allows others to see that God can work amazing miracles in the most prodigal of us. And He can do it through our precious little ones, I think He often does. Special needs or not.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking in anything.” James 1:2-4. God isn’t finished with me yet.I am learning how important perseverance really is.
If God is calling you to homeschool your child with special needs but you have a fear of not being able, remember that God isn’t finished with you yet, either. I’d love to connect through comments or email and help you in any way I can, even if it is just specific prayers for you and your sweet family. You are a blessing to me just by being here!