A little over a month ago, while texting with my brother, whom I’m very close to, about how downhill things have been going recently with middle dude (who has Asperger’s and a mood disorder) and other life issues, he apparently concocts a plan within his cunning mind right then and there. He is determined to shuttle me out of my life for awhile by flying me to Raleigh, NC (near their home), taking me to see my favorite band in concert (for the 7th or so time) and spend a couple of days in Asheville, and making me spend time being taken care of instead of doing things for others.
Against every protest coming from me regarding money and anyone’s ability to pay for plane and concert tickets for me at this time, he is determined. He reprimands me for arguing with him like I’m 9 and he’s 18 again. Before the end of the day he has made airline reservations, purchased concert tickets, and I’m going regardless of my near inability to accept things like this from others.
As my trip approaches, I find out that it has been a combined financial effort of family members to get me away. I honestly can’t wrap my mind around someone else wanting to do this for me – even my own family. But these people love me like no one else. They never get in a snit and decide I’m not worth their time. They never turn on me, no matter how much my life’s issues splatter all over them. They recognize my strengths and praise them; they see my weaknesses and try to help fill in the gaps. They make me feel like I matter. They do not say the words, “You matter,” to me; their actions show me that I matter.
Do you have any idea what it feels like to have someone see a need that you have, step in to fill it regardless of all they have going on in their own life – simply because of the love they feel for you?
This is the blueprint for a family. And it’s what I try with all my heart to show to others whenever I can.
By the day before my trip, I am in such need of time away from my own existence that the uneasiness of accepting such a huge handout has been replaced with overwhelming gratefulness for such a blessing.
Life recently has been relentless. The parenting special needs issues have been like a hail of gunfire. You run one way, you run another, but it matters not. You’re getting hit from every direction. Just survive. Keep moving. I’ll survive if I keep moving. I have no idea which way to go, and I’m going to be hurt no matter what. But if I do nothing, I’m dead.
Other issues unrelated to the special needs have been like salt on the open wounds of my life lately, as well, rendering already-difficult emotional terrain nearly impossible to navigate. You know when your prayers evolve to “Please just make it all stop, Lord,” that you’re close to the edge. I know this because I have skidded beyond that point before – and what lies beyond is a steep, dark, narrow crevice that’s much easier to fall into than to negotiate your way back out of.
This trip was my family acting as a pile of boulders placed in the path between me and that crevice. But we all know (or we should) that even the most well-thought-out plan is no match for God’s timing and his own idea of how things are going to go down.
No match, indeed.
It all started with my mom waking me up the evening before I was to fly out – at a little after 6 p.m. I hadn’t realized I’d fallen asleep sitting straight up in my bed while making a packing list, and she’d arrived to begin being “Nana-mom” the next morning to my two younger boys and two dogs (Buddy and Heidi) while I was gone and Daddy was at work all day. I could hear middle dude (12) and youngest dude (7) yelling at one another downstairs and asked what was going on.
“Apparently Buddy has thrown up somewhere and they’re fighting about cleaning it up. You don’t worry about it. I didn’t come to sit and do nothing!”
Oh, the providence of that my mother's words.