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?
After my first marriage fell apart, I vowed that Christ would return before I would ever consider getting married again. Why on earth would one desire a messier life than I had created by age 40 . . . HONESTLY!
Meeting people—well, okay . . . men—occasionally wasn’t problematic. People fascinate me, and I enjoyed making new friends in the aftermath of it all.
On the Mend
One guy stood out as a fantastic, lifelong . . . friend. We could—and did—talk for hours. His kids, too, had a history of health challenges. He was . . .
We all have wondered, What would happen if I dreamt up ideas filled with spontaneity, the unknown, a bit of risk, a thrill—and actually pursued that dream?
How many of us let loose long enough to find out what would happen?
The weathered wooden trellises were trashed . . . or so they thought. I found some timeworn trellises stacked in a pile my folks planned to toss out. I have a thing about refurbishing or renewing stuff that appears dumpy or dilapidated, and giving it new life.
By Acabashi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
If it’s family stuff, all the better. Around my house we have a saying: “Your trash is my treasure.”
The trellises had been used for years.
- They had held fragrant climbing roses my dad cared for, cutting one for my mom each day.
- They were placed by the swimming pool where for years my kids and I swam.
- The man who built them out of wood had passed away, but his work remained.
For these reasons and more, I hauled them home, knowing they could be beautiful again.
Not long after, my daughter was engaged, and we were pinching pennies by making the most of her decorations. TA-DA . . . the trellises . . . they could work. We decided to make an A-framed arbor; each side measured about 4 ½ feet tall by 3 feet wide, held together with four vertical wood slats and six horizontal slats.
In all, each side had a bunch of smaller, square-shaped spaces, superb for her wedding style as we envisioned it in our minds.
It really was not what we had planned for a quiet Sunday afternoon on Father’s Day . . . but so it goes. Shortly before summer, my youngest son, Jon, got to pick out his very own dog . . . sort of.
(Photo Courtesy of IFLM)
With all of his siblings now out of the house, Jon wanted companionship, and after all, dogs are “man’s best friend,” so we went for it.
He saved his allowance, we studied the breeds together, and finally the day came.