We just returned from our three week journey to Oregon to see places we love, to show the boys where so many of my childhood memories were formed and to visit friends who are family to us. The trip was wrought with it's own set of challenges, but there was so much joy.
"My dear boys, I wish I could shield you from the darkness of this world and keep your beautiful hearts unmarred by the brokenness of humanity. I wish the castles in your imaginations would never crumble. I want to hold the whole part of all that is sad, heartbreaking, overwhelming, the disappointment and hurt, and let it never touch you.
I find deep comfort in knowing that you have each other and that together, side by side, with the Love that binds you inside your hearts, you can stand firm in Truth and not be torn apart by the winds that threaten you."
Reflecting back on this picture journal of our trip gives me joy; these will be memories I will treasure for always. Resuming life has been not terribly unlike a slap in the face. The behavioral challenges with Lochlan continued throughout the journey and now into our re-integration into life. Tonight, as I wiped poop out of the indoor garden tree branches, off the floor, out of my hair, and tried not to react, the tears dripped down my face and off my chin. We've been advised by various autism therapists to have muted responses to the negative behavior as normal discipline will only cause the negative behavior(s) to escalate. Then, he peed on the couch. Then, he screamed at a volume that is clearly meant only for torture. We've invested in ear protection for the whole family so that we can be more successfully unresponsive and that has helped. The screaming is definitely less inspiring for him and so doesn't last as long; THAT is progress.
It's a battle and I'm weary. I have to believe that the labor and toil of this life - in each of our lives - is not in vain or I will not have the courage to keep taking forward steps through the exasperation, pain and sorrow.
Courage: the ability to do something that frightens one. Strength in the face of pain and grief. My life as Lochlan's mom terrifies me. Will I be strong enough? Capable enough? Patient enough? Will I be able to teach him to love unconditionally? Will I be able to instill in him strength to carry him through this life in spite of my weaknesses? I have not been given a choice. Suffering is not for nothing. Not for any of us.
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