|Ruins of an eighteenth century church, Mascota, Mexico.|
I reserve the right to post pictures that are completely irrelevant to the text.
It's nice to know I'm not alone in this struggle. Some of you also have children with special needs. Some of you know yourselves what it's like to be "wired" differently and are able to encourage me based on your own experience. This is what spurs me on to share my life, to be honest not only about the funny things my kids say and the special memories we're making, but the struggles we have along the way. I've found that as I've opened up, others have too. I've talked with mama friends about Peregrine and learned that they too have kids who aren't typical, that their families are also struggling along. I may have never known if I hadn't said something first though. And sometimes, before I opened up, they didn't really have anyone to talk to about it, or didn't know where to look for help or support.
It's made me realize that we've got to be real with each other. We've got to stop worrying about what other people will think of us or our parenting skills. We've got to stop being afraid of labeling our kids because we don't want to excuse bad behavior or whatever other reasons prevent us from sharing our struggles or seeking help. I can say these things from my own experience, because I've been through it and because in many ways I'm still there. I'm not pointing a finger at anyone else here. Rather, I'm hoping to extend a hand and invite others to come on in. The water's fine. There's good company here.
It seems that every time I've found the courage to share my struggles, I find community. I find my village. I realize that I'm not alone, that other people are experiencing similar things and that we can encourage and pray and cry and strengthen one another. That sometimes we don't even need good advice, we just need a listening ear. We need someone who, just by being there, by not judging, somehow gives us what we need to keep on going. And that when I open up, they do to, and we are both given much needed strength as we realize we're all in this together.
Some days, like today, I feel like I don't have what it takes to keep going. I walk out of the room in tears. I curl up on my bed, sobbing, feeling like I just can't go on, like there is no more energy to listen, to comfort, to solve another fight or listen to another fit or try to talk Peregrine down one more time. I fight visions of a future dark and scary and sad, not just for him, but for our other kids. I try to breathe, and it feels like I'm pinned down, like the weight on my chest just won't give.
In the end though, I always get up. I have to. My kids need me to be the mama and love them and keep caring for them. And I know I have my village, that a listening ear, a praying friend, a word of encouragement, even tangible help when I need it, is only a phone call or an email or a Facebook post away. We are blessed with supportive and loving family and friends, both nearby and far off. Many of them I know in person but some of you I've never met. Technology has given us the opportunity to have a myriad of shallow relationships, but also allowed us to create community in ways that weren't possible before. It allows us to reach out and find people to walk this road with. I've found Asperger's groups that have been a big help to me. I've also received much support through relationships I've formed in the blogging world. I hope that somehow, by being real about all of this, I can be an encouragement to others as well.
Thank you to each of you who have taken the time to read, to comment, to pray, and to otherwise support us on this journey. Thanks for being part of my village. It means a great deal to us, and I hope that by walking together you are encouraged in your struggles as well.