Monday, January 6, 2014

On My Mind

Yesterday during fast and testimony meeting at our church, one mother bore her sweet testimony of the power of prayer.  And that even when we pray for certain things, Heavenly Father may not take away our trials but he still answers our prayers usually by blessing us with support either through family, friends or otherwise. 

My husband looked at me and asked if I was okay - knowing that this particular topic is close to my heart:
1.  Because I have always had a very close and open communication with my Heavenly Father and each time I contemplate on it, I am moved to tears with feelings of intense love from him, and...

2.  Because I feel like this woman was referring to the struggles and trials that she is facing with her son, 3, who has a sensory processing disorder, on the scale of Autism.

This is a something our family has faced as well.  Many don't know, but Kody was diagnosed with this same disorder when he was about 3.  We were told that the behaviors that were causing me so much angst would mellow out through learning to communicate, age and structure but that this would be our reality for the remainder of his life. 

After some traditional intervention, alternative treatment practices, Priesthood blessings and two years, his behavior had changed enough to not register on the spectrum at all.  Professional assessors looked on in awe and I was repeatedly told that this couldn't be.

Fast forward to present day...Kody is in first grade, the youngest in his class.  You see his birthday is after the cut off date, but we felt like he was academically ready and as behaviorally and emotionally ready as we could reasonably expect.  This decision in and of itself has rendered me praying in the car, on my knees, late at night and a million other fleeting thought pleading prayers.  To say that I know the decision I made was the best one or even the right one would be a gross overstatement.  I remain as unsure as ever. 

And now to why I am prompted to write. Today as I volunteered in his class as I do every Monday, I helped administer/proctor for standardized testing with rigorous rules and procedures.  I watched helplessly as Kody tried hard to take this test and do his best.  The test starts easy and like most get progressively harder.  The kids worked through sections eventually independently and at their own pace.  Some kids knew all the answers.  Most didn't.  Many who realized that they didn't have all the answers finished by making their best guesses or filling in any random answer with much leisure and laissez faire. 

Kody's nature would not allow him to do this.  I watched as his anxiety level ratcheted up, I watched him tear up in class over his emotional angst of not knowing everything and I watched as he consistently would try to refocus his waning mental energy to finish this test.  I had to turn around to hide from everyone, but most importantly Kody, my own tears.  Travis laughed as he saw my reaction telling me how ironic it is that nothing makes me emotionally upset except for when I see those I love hurting.  And it's true.  And all today I have been left with the impression, what caused him to feel such stress:  Is this a byproduct of me sending him early and too much pressure, the undiagnosable but still ever present residual issues/behaviors he faced at three or the idiosyncrasies of his red hair and all of those accompanying stereotypes.  All of which I see the effects of with some regularity.

You can only imagine that I said a prayer or two today for him to feel comfort while at school.  I was thrilled to see him bounce off the bus happily.  But when we started to do spelling homework, I was frustrated but not surprised to see him openly defiant about practicing writing his spelling words.  And as I watched Travis try to use traditional means to coerce him into doing it, I knew that this was going to end up in an all out impasse.  It was then that an idea came to me.  I called Kody over with a calm that only years ago would have totally eluded me.  I offered alternative and fun solutions to writing his spelling list and landed with a huge success on shaving cream drawings.
And that's how we ended up in my bath tub making shaving cream palates that we would use our finger to carve our words into.  Once done, we would wipe the foaming cream around more and rewrite.  He happily spelled his whole list twice and we got some good bonding time in as I dabbed the shaving cream on his face and he spread his in my hair.  And this is when I remembered the testimony from yesterday.  My every burden hasn't been removed.  But I have felt the support of my Heavenly Father as I have watched my previously totally impatient self learn to be lots more patient and my structured and traditional self morph into someone with bits of creativity when needed.

I don't know what Heavenly Father has in store for this precious little boy.  He is his son after all, not really mine.  I just have him on consignment.  And I can't shelter him from every hurt and pain and my type of parenting doesn't even feel like that is the best way to go, but it still feels awful sometimes.  And then I remembered the lesson of another teacher at church yesterday.  He showed the children two blank pieces of paper folded multiple times.  One had no challenges and when returned to his Heavenly Father was lovely and just the same as the way he came, but the one that had been cut away and carved out from the trials of life when opened up turned into something more beautiful, an intricate snowflake.

I don't have all the answers.  It isn't always easy, but I do have a Heavenly Father waiting on hand to bless me with what I need and to inspire me with brilliance to help those I love. I couldn't feel more gratitude if I tried.


Adams said...

Oh Mary...thank you for this post. You may never know who needs to read them, but trust me, they need to be read.

candice said...

Amen to the comment above. My thoughts as well. Needs to be read, needs to be known. Your testimony had me in tears! Love you!