This last week I was talking to a new mom who is a friend of mine. During our conversation, another friend walked up and joined in. We were discussing mommy-hood…..the ups and the downs. The woman, who is also a mom, began telling the new mom that one day she might miss the days when her son couldn’t talk. She proceeded to talk about how her little guy never stops talking…….telling stories, sharing every thought that jumps into his head, and just chattering away nonstop. I think most moms on the planet can relate to this! And on those days……what do you do? You beg either verbally or in your head for them to just be quiet for a few moments. To save your sanity. I have definitely begun having these moments with Townsend. But never Cannon.
So, here is my problem. I hear this and it makes me a little sad. Because even though Cannon can talk, he talks in “script,” without functional language. Which is without original thought. I long with every fiber of my being to look into those beautiful, brown eyes of his…… for him to look back without looking immediately away…… and to have a conversation about ANYTHING with my precious son. I want to know what he is thinking, what he needs, and if he is hurting. I want to know if he is happy, what I can do to make his life easier, and what he truly loves. I want to hear excitement in his voice, get a taste what goes on in his imagination, and to have a heart to heart. I may or may not ever hear anything like this. And sometimes…..I let that get to me……and it just hurts.
During this particular conversation, I teared up a bit, looked down, and tried desperately to hold my tongue. But for better or for worse, I didn’t. I couldn’t. As she finished telling several stories about the silly things her son comes up with, I made a comment. I said, “And then there are those of us who would do just about anything to have that problem.” As soon as I said it, I regretted it. My intentions were good. My presentation, I felt, wasn’t rude or insulting but quiet and thoughtful. However, I still regretted it because I didn’t want her to think for one moment that I was angry at her, judging her feelings, or that I was offended in any way. This is my issue. My insecurity. I am always trying, in my current state of life, to find the good amongst the tough. I stretch and stretch to try and find even the tiniest thing to be grateful for in a bad situation. And in my mind, I was just giving her something to be grateful for. Even on those days when she wants to pull her hair out. I think in the future we will both probably think twice before we speak. Not because either of us said ANYTHING wrong but just because we had the experience. And maybe just hearing about this conversation will encourage anyone reading this to be grateful for everything about our children. Even the frustrating things! Because the lessons we learn from those blessings are what can bring us closer to God.
So, in the spirit of counting our blessings…….here goes my attempt as it relates to Cannon’s issues……….
1) Cannon is a high functioning Autistic child. There are soooo many other parents that deal with countless other issues we do not face.
2) Cannon talks. He may not currently speak with much functionality and zero original thought. But he talks. So many parents of low functioning children will never hear what their child’s voice sounds like.
3) Cannon’s diet may be extremely limited but for the most part……he eats what I put in front of him. Many children with Autism are incredibly picky and will only eat certain textures.
4) Cannon is a lover. He doesn’t shy away from touch like many children with Autism. Sometimes. And the touch he gives is usually brief but he allows it.
5) Cannon has good days. Not usually back to back…….but he has good days. They aren’t all bad.
6) Cannon does not lie.
7) Cannon does not cheat.
8) Cannon does not steal.
9) Cannon is brilliant.
10) Cannon’s fine motor and physical abilities have greatly improved with considerable therapy.
11) We have met some amazing doctors, therapists, nurses, special needs teachers and aides. Wonderful people with enormous hearts that have helped us so much and enriched our lives just by being a part of ours.
12) We have met some phenomenal and strong parents going through similar things that we can draw strength, knowledge, and encouragement from.
13) Prayer Warriors have come out of nowhere to lift up our son! What a beautiful gift! We feel them friends! I can promise you that!
Finally, I want to share with you why I chose the song that plays when you log onto this site. It is not just because I liked it. It’s because of the message of the lyrics and how they reflect my feelings on our struggles. The song begins by talking about all the things we generally pray for. Then, about how God hears every prayer and knows what is best for us. And how the answers to our prayers may come in different ways than what we ask for or expect. I really relate to one particular line. It says “What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know YOUR near…….What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise.” I do not know WHY God chose to have our family go through these trials but I DO know that I am closer to HIM now than I have been in a very long time……maybe ever. And that I trust HIM implicitly to take care of my family.
When Cannon was first diagnosed, I ignored God. I didn’t have time for him. That is what I told myself. I was too busy doing all the things that this new issue required of me to do. I went to church on Sunday and ultimately believed what I was hearing but there was no application into my life, no quiet time with Him, and no real relationship. It was sad. I was miserable. And I couldn’t shut my brain down at night. There were a million thoughts, questions, worries, concerns, and things to do. I couldn’t sleep when I could sleep. I wanted to and I needed to change. But I also needed to hit rock bottom before I was desperate enough to do something about it. During one of Cannon’s hospitalizations…. I finally did. So, I began to pursue change. I focused. I began reading my Bible again, worshipping God through music while meditating on the words. Praying over my child each night. And reading devotionals and other Christian books. And later, I began this blog. I had been feeling for a long time like God wanted me to do this but I resisted. I wanted to keep our business our business. When I finally obeyed, the blessings rained down on me. The accountability, focus, and strength I draw from writing to ya’ll is invaluable! I treasure it! Thank you for blessing me and my family with your love, support, and concern!
The later part of the song talks about how we pray begging to hear God’s voice and get mad when we can’t. So, then come the doubts…..about God’s goodness and love. Embarassingly enough, I had some of those, too. I called it my “crisis of faith.” Until I got myself back on track. The song tells of how we ignore God’s promises. And all during this time, He is still listening, still providing our needs as He sees fit, but loves us too much to give us less than what His plan is for our lives. And then comes the kicker, the fact that our pain reminds us that this is not our eternal home. Our suffering WILL end and one day we will get to feel the arms of Jesus around us. What a beautiful, inspiring song! When, I first heard it, I was creating the blog and had to have it! It was too perfect! It said what I wanted to say but didn’t have the creative talent to do so. I love it! And I hope that now each time you hear it…….it will have new meaning and inspiration to you!
I am attaching a video here of Laura Story, the writer and performer of this song, telling her personal back story…….how this song came about. I encourage you to have a listen. It is POWERFUL and she is amazing!
Now, go count your blessings friends! I think you will find that there are many, many, many more than you think! And try to look for the positive no matter what you are going through! Our children are always going to be challenging. Encourage them to better things by loving them in spite of their faults and embracing their uniqueness. It will help sustain you! I promise! Much love!