Friday, December 5, 2008

What A Difference A Year Makes

One year ago right now (to the hour!), I had just had surgery on my foot, wasn't allowed to be up except to use the bathroom, and was higher than a kite on pain meds when Seth fell playing in the snow and broke his arm clean through both bones.

My four-year-old autistic son, who could barely tolerate looking in to the eyes of a stranger was about to go through a horrible ordeal at the hands of many strangers - while I sat right beside him and let them.

I prayed with him on the way to the hospital, and once we got there - I refused to let anyone else carry him in. Having raised this stubborn girl, I think my dad (who drove us there) knew that this was one battle not to try and fight. This act of motherly defiance set back my own recovery time, as it pulled apart some of my stitches and I later had to go an extra two weeks before having them removed because of it. But at the time, I would have endured anything to make my son realize that I was there to protect him and make him know that everything was going to be okay.

Seth had to be taken into surgery to re-set his arm, and ironically, the same anesthesiologist who had been in my surgery the week before was in Seth's.

Nine hours and another surgery later, we were back home, it was the middle of the night, and I was lying in bed wondering how in the world I was going to take care of my son not being able to get up myself.

Seth amazed us all. I think he even proved to himself what he was capable of. It was as if he stared his autism dead in the eye and said, "Back off, I can handle this." This child who could barely handle a change in his daily routine handled a complete upset in every area of his being.

He had to handle strangers in a strange place poking him, hurting him, making him talk to them; and then for the next four weeks he had to take medicine (a traumatic thing for him on a good day), learn to do everything with the opposite hand (he broke his right arm), have something on him that didn't feel right that he couldn't take off, and generally deal with pain, frustration, and not being able to do a lot of things that were routine for him. And he handled it all with so much normalcy that all of us around him were in shock.

Quite simply, he showed us!

It was as if in a bigger-than-life way, God showed him and us that Seth was so much stronger and more on his way than any of us realized.

He also showed us how incredibly blessed we are, as a family, to be surrounded by the people that we are. We were taken care of by so many people it was unbelievable. Of course our immediate families swooped in - my parents, my sister, Sean's mom all came in shifts to run this house. Our best friends next door, the Zipps, did so much for us; girls from my Bible study and just general members of our church family and friends brought us meal after meal, stopped by with Starbucks for me (yum!), goodies for the kids, and just chat time.

They all made a pretty hard time for us beautiful because we felt so loved.

This Christmas season, I'm thankful that all is normal (well, normal for us) and I'm getting to enjoy the holidays fully - and not from a recliner. I'm thankful that Seth is also fully-functioning this Christmas. I'm thankful that this past year I have been able to pass on that spirit of giving and help other people who are in need with my own time.

(This is a messageboard signature that my friend made for me last year.)
And I'm also thankful that I'm 14 pounds lighter now than I was in this photo!
Hey - we all have our demons.
Happy early, uneventful holidays everyone!

1 comment:

  1. How well I remember the difficulties of last December! But even more, I remember how the Lord made his presence known to us in a very personal way. Not only did he give us strength to carry on, but so many people were his hands and feet to us. The meals brought in, the phone calls to check on us and lend support and prayers were all a testimony of the caring hearts of your friends( and mine).Through it all, we were mightily blessed.