Autism, Motherhood

I love you, Mommy

“You should be a teacher, Mommy,” Caleb tells me last night.

“Why’s that, bud?”

“You have good behavior. You yell sometimes, but you mostly have good behavior. You are nice to me. You left your job to have more time with me. I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you, too buddy. More than you know.”

This is a big compliment coming from Caleb.  First, because he adores his teachers. He knows that they love him even when he misbehaves. Second, because I’ve worked very hard on my good behavior, and I’m thankful he feels the difference and doesn’t focus on the times I mess up. He has said, “I love you, Mommy” several times last night and this morning, unprompted and randomly. Josh briefly talked to him about his behavior after the book fair episode, but he is feeling remorse and empathy on his own, I believe.

It’s a reminder that when I’m able to stop myself from blowing up at him when he’s having an episode, later, he is able to see his fault in what happened. When I react by yelling, our behavior basically cancel each other out. It’s yet another reminder that, despite feeling so utterly helpless at the time, my only job in the moment is to not make the episode about my bad behavior, too. And then earnestly pray for the strength to do that. And to pray for my child to come back to me.

Caleb apologized to me that night before bed. Authentically. It’s a balm to my aching heart when he’s compassionate, remorseful, or empathetic. I’m so grateful for these reminders that our efforts are paying off, even when it doesn’t seem like it. The sacrifices I’ve made, we’ve made, are working. Slowly, but surely. It helps me to keep on doing the next right thing. He needs me to keep showing up.

Caleb is still teaching me how to keep trying, to persevere, and to continually release my desire for faster results. I’m forced to lean on the Lord for His strength, especially in those gut-wrenching moments of utter helplessness. The most consistent thing God tells me is: “wait” and “be still.” He’s all like, “girl, just hold on. Don’t give up. Just wait and see what I’m going to do.”

You might have guessed that waiting is hard for me. I want perfect abs after a week at the gym and a couple salads, but bless my Chipotle loving heart, that’s utter ridiculousness. I forget this lesson often. Good thing God is ever loving and patient with me to keep teaching me the same lesson over and over again. I will offer the same for my son. As long and often as it takes. As much as it breaks my heart sometimes, I will not stop trying.

For those who were worried about me, please know I’m ok. I’m ok because I’m ok with feeling like crap sometimes. It’s just life, and sometimes it sucks. But it’s also beautiful, too. I try to appreciate both the beauty and the pain.

How often do I tell my clients that lasting results take time and consistency? Grief, hurt, loneliness, pain, anxiety, relational roadblocks…there is no magic solution for any of it. Everything in our culture tells us to pursue the quick and easy fix. We don’t know how to sit and face our painful emotions and allow them teach us something. Friends, pay attention to your feelings. They give us important information. My feelings told me I needed some extra support, and thank goodness because I was blown away by your responses. I will never need anyone to fix this for me, I only need some extra love and support sometimes. PSA: Hug a special needs parent today! They are usually running on empty.

I cannot recommend enough talking or writing about your feelings. Being heard and understood heals. It makes the pain easier to bear. It makes us braver. To me, being understood feels exactly like love. I know I’ll keep circling around to the same pain and emotions, and lessons, but I’ll keep getting stronger from the climb each time. Thank you again to everyone who messaged and commented, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the love you offered me.


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