I see you, mama, with your sweet little boy, who is perfectly average on the outside, and everything but average under his skin. I see you struggling at meal time because he will only eat cereal, but screams when his clumsy fingers spill food on his shirt, as he can’t endure the feel of spilt food.
I feel you, lady, with the screaming kid in the restaurant, getting dirty looks from all the patrons. I feel your heart beating fast as someone makes loud, rude comments from across the room about your precious child. Their ignorance prevents their empathy. You know it’s their loss, but it still hurts.
I understand you, mama bear, tired of making phone calls, trying to make sense of insurance and referrals and IEPs and OT and PT and speech. I get it when you sacrifice a normal life and career to do everything you can to make sure your son gets therapy. I know how you ache when after all that, after years of phone calls and meetings and therapy your child still rarely puts two words together, and still won’t feed himself at age four (well, he’ll try, but the food ends up on his lap or the floor every time).
I get it, autism mommy, when you’re happy that your toddler is hitting milestones, but that joy is tempered by the fact that your older child hasn’t hit them yet. I know how it feels that they’re twins when they’re actually years apart. I get how developmental delay has consumed your life. How getting ready to go somewhere, getting the kids in bed, or meal times in general take twice as long as they should because you’re doing everything. How you don’t want your kids to grow up – but sometimes – you really, really wish they could.
I’ve been there, Supermom. That moment when your kid is playing around (never with, always just around) other kids and some socially inappropriate behavior causes you to explain, “he has autism.” Because they can’t tell by looking.
I know what it’s like when you’ve waited years for your child to say “I love you,” or to tell you how their day went, or even why they’re crying at any given moment, but you can only guess. And you have no idea if you’ll get to experience that special moment – when he tells you what he feels using words.
I know your fear, mommy crusader, that one day your son will run from you and get lost in a crowd. Having no understanding of danger, he will place his life at risk. I understand the multiple door locks, the ever-present stroller (even though he’s way too old for it), all the family activities like hiking and swimming that simply aren’t practical. I get it.
But more importantly …
God sees your tears. He counts all the aches in your heart as your child repeatedly scores low on developmental evaluations. He remembers the crushing pain when you first received the diagnosis, and he’s counted all the tears since. He watches you as you watch your child stimming, not judging, just thankful that he’s able to calm and regulate himself.
God feels your heart. The immeasurable affection for your child that drives you to do super-human things. He put it there. The determination to give your child everything you can to help them succeed. He gave you that, too.
He also sees your failures. Those moments when you could’ve done more, but you didn’t, because you were so tired or frustrated. The moments when you lost your cool and you screamed at him. When your patience ran out.
He doesn’t promise that you will be enough for your child. He didn’t choose you because you were strong. He never intended for you to walk this path alone. He did promise to never leave you, to give you wisdom, strength, and hope, and to advocate for you as you advocate for your child. He did promise to surround your child with angels and to watch over them as they sleep. He did promise that His love is enough.
I see you mama, in your yearning, weakness, and exhaustion. But more importantly, God sees you, and He’s been with you every step of the way.