There is a place I used to call my second home: the waiting room. I’ll never forget the hours I spent with my special-needs son in waiting rooms—rooms with tattered magazines, crying children, and tired-looking people who were staring at smudged, blandly painted walls.
If there were windows, I watched the outside world whirl by—beautiful women out and about, men in pressed suits connected to cell phones.
I would get stuck in my thoughts . . . somewhere between envious and anxious, weary and worried. I wondered when the waiting would end.
So, there we were—my mother, my sister, my three children, and I—walking through the airport to get to the gate for our flight home. There should be awards for mothers who travel with teenagers—the heaps of luggage . . .
(Image from Unsplash)
The stops for sodas and snacks . . . the children deaf to anything other than electronics and texting! We had just been processed through security like cows being put into the squeeze.
The undressing, checking, rechecking, and dressing again is an athletic event for us all.
It’s more difficult with younger children than with teens and almost impossible with a special-needs child who is a teen. It can be hysterically funny watching people attempt this obstacle course—but not so much when it’s you!
I nearly incinerated my finger with a hot glue gun a while back. I was working on a project for my daughter’s wedding and almost welded my finger to the table.
Photo by Colleen Swindoll Thompson
While I soaked one hand in ice, with the other I dusted off the pages of her baby books and began thumbing through them.
One turn of a page and time slowed. Her sassy smile, blonde curls, little round face resting on her soft pillow almost looked through me at that moment.
The button-trimmed page lined with pink presented the illusion that I could keep her life—our lives—from being flawed and damaged. The sun set, my finger cooled, and the visual reminders of days gone by sunk deep into my soul.
I often wonder what it would be like to get through one day without a jolt of terror running through my veins. One day without experiencing an off-the-chart startled response would be heavenly.
(Image from Pixabay)
A soft knock on my office door or my husband’s gentle kiss to wake me in the morning can cause me to jump a mile high and send my heart rate into orbit.
People cannot understand the pervasive power of PTSD and its effects on the body and mind unless they have endured hard trauma. Hard trauma is defined as an event, experience, or ongoing circumstance that is or appears to be life-threatening.
Hard trauma cuts through a person’s ability to cope or process the traumatic event constructively.
The term has become more common due to studies of war veterans. However, an overwhelming number of people with PTSD are not war veterans; they are people we see every day:
He clung to his phone like a threadbare lifeline. Hearing his laugh is a symphony of joy . . . it’s not the norm for him in life. My son Jon is now 19 and a HALF—that half is desperately important to him.
(Image from Pixabay)
For his whole life, he’s been in pain:
He’s aware he doesn’t fit this world. As his mother, I must say there are very few things more difficult than raising a child who “doesn’t fit.”
The unspoken message rings loud and clear on a daily basis: he regularly receives attention from medical specialists, education teams, or worse, bullies and people who look through him as if he weren’t there.
His loneliness is almost suffocating at times.
For 19 and a HALF years, we have tried almost everything . . .
Not long ago I saw a colorful, captivating picture on a doctor’s office wall. It was clearly a parody of Disney’s movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
(Image from Pixabay)
Remember those jolly little round, robust fellows who whistled, worked, and walked home singing catchy tunes? Good ol’ Doc . . .
They seemed to make life a bit lighter wherever they went.
The picture on the wall was titled “The Seven Dwarfs of Despair.” I read their names:
Not many of us would put together the words love and suffering. Suffering feels like anything but love. One of life’s greatest struggles is to resolve that our all-loving God allows us to suffer; in fact, Scripture repeatedly reminds us that God is love and we will suffer.
Kathleen Bolduc understands suffering, as she raised a son with disabilities. She has experienced bitter-cold sorrow and has been warmed by God’s loving embrace for more than thirty years. Her book The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities helps us understand that God’s love breaks through most often when we are broken open.
If you are enduring pain and questioning God’s love, Kathy’s words will warm your soul.
The success rate of people keeping resolutions is around 8 percent (tops). Resolutions fell off my to-do list years ago. However, I’ve heard that more than 50 percent of Americans still firmly believe in making resolutions.
(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)
And let’s just say old habits are hard to break; the ritual of making resolutions began long before Christ was born.
I finally nailed down my New Year’s resolutions:
- Gain 20 pounds
- Create chaos and conflict with family and friends
- Stop reading my Bible
- Stop exercising
- Dive deeper into debt
- Get fired
- Have a nervous breakdown
TIRED! That was the only word I could think of. Typically, my husband—who leaves for work by 5:20 a.m.—sends me a text asking how the morning routine and getting out the door went.
For us, that can be a risky inquiry since, quite often, departing for the day is something just shy of the Exodus.
In spite of appearing quite normal, my son’s global intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) require a lot of assistance—which isn’t that big of a deal.
The bigger deal is me: the mother who hates mornings, rarely has “anything to wear,” and struggles with ADD and focus challenges.
I kept thinking, all moms juggle morning routines. I’ve been at this for over 20 years. Why is this still such a big deal?
I don’t think there is any other time of the year when we are faced with intense conflict than at Christmas time. While we sing about it being the most wonderful time of the year, would you say that’s your experience?
If it really is the happiest season of all, why do the mental health statistics reveal December has the highest suicide and depression rates than any other month of the year?