An Unexpected Life . . .


Today is a BIG, enormous, off-the-charts, colossal, overwhelmingly emotional day for me.  It has to do with my health, but it is more about being the mom of a special needs child.  Today, something miraculous happened–My AUTISTIC son drove his car to high school by himself.  My emotions are riding waves of joy.  My eyes keep filling with tears.  It is always hard on moms watching their little birdies fly the nest, but this little birdie was never supposed to fly–ever.

Collin was diagnosed “more autistic than the average autistic child.”  When they shared this information with me, they kept waiting for me to pass out.  I kept asking, “So what next?”  They kept repeating that statement to me as if I had not heard them.  I kept repeating my question.  The last time I said I understand, now tell me what I can do to help my child.  At that time, about 14 years ago, even the docs didn’t have much information that was overly helpful for parents–they suggested institutions.  Institutions were outside my budget: we were a family of 6 living off 50,000 a year; there was no money in our budget for institutions. Our insurance didn’t cover stuff like that.  I fell flat on my face and prayed with everything in me for help.

For those of you who are not Christian or spiritual, indulge me today–and forgive me if I offend you with my faith. I love you just as you are, but I prayed with every fiber of my being, because no one offered me hope.  I prayed and I cried out to God with everything in me–day after day.  If you have an image of a woman lying prostrate on the floor with her arms stretched out above her head as if she could dive from a prone position — you have the correct visual.  My heart was broken, and my hope was crashing about me as if it were a mirror breaking upon a hard fall.  My heart was shattered.  My health was failing, I had become obese (not my maximum [that followed shortly] but I was 200 pounds).  I lived in constant fear that my poor sweet screaming child would be left on this earth with no one to care for him when I passed away.  That he would be put in a state institution when we were gone.

People often ask us how we did the things we have done with Collin.  They ask us how we endured.  We all had the fear in our minds that Collin would outlive us all, and he would be put into an institution when we could no longer care for him.  It kept us focused when Mom got an idea to try, while Collin screamed for hours everyday for however long it took him to learn this new behavior.  We all ate like robots at the table while we trained him to eat new foods, and he screamed every evening for our entire meal and maybe hours after–this went on for years–yet we all pushed forward.

You have to understand: he didn’t talk until he was five.  He didn’t potty train until just before that age.  Life for our baby looked bleak and lonely–yet we pressed forward.  How did we press forward?  Our Faith in our creator–the soft gentle voice that I heard in my heart gave me ideas that are now used by many professionals to help autistic children learn to function.  Collin is our little miracle.  Yes, we paid a hefty price for our miracle, but we are beyond happy with the results of the price.  All parents will pay what ever price is required for the life of their children.  Collin is blessed to have siblings that were willing as well.

Today was a day that was NEVER supposed to happen–yet it did.  My health means so many things to me.  Being here to see this moment.  Honestly, my family lived in fear that I would not make it much longer.  I had blood pressure so high that it was in the stroke zone and uncontrolled diabetes just 7 years ago.  I started taking back my health at that time–thankfully–I have made it to a place where I am not living in fear of dying suddenly on my family.  I have lived to a day to see my baby drive his car (this was never even a consideration–not even a hope) to school.

God gave my husband a word for our family, and he has spoken it over us for about 11 years.  “If you are faithful and persistent and do not give up, I will bless you and give you what you ask and more.”  I have to say this has come true in our lives where Collin is concerned.  I never dreamed he would drive a car and plan for College.  I just hoped he would be able to sort of live on his own and maybe work at a junk job like some special kids get to do.  I NEVER dreamed he would be so smart that he will probably become a PHD or something cool like that.  I never dreamed he would drive a car.  I never dreamed he would be in regular school–actually above grade level in his intelligence.  I am such a blessed woman, that I cannot help but cry.

Yes, life has been terribly hard at times and awfully unfair, but it just doesn’t seem to matter at this moment.  I am sure most mothers understand.  Giving birth to a child is horribly painful for most of us, but once we hold that beautiful crying baby in our arms everything else fades in importance.  It becomes a memory or the price we paid for the joy that we are now experiencing–OH so worth the price we paid.  Yes, tears are running down my face as I type this post.  They are tears of joy and wonder.

Driving a car–something we take for granted–has become a moment of tremendous accomplishment and joy so wondrous I can hardly express what is in my heart.  My little broken birdie is going to fly.  They said he could not, that he would not, but he is and will.  Everything I asked for and more …. yes this is so much more than I ever dared hope for … God help me I can’t type for crying.

No food ever tasted as good as the joy of living my life to the fullest.

I will come back later and check for the boo boo’s I know are here … blessings (yes, when I type that and think of you I am thinking of all you dreamed of and more for your life) … S

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26 thoughts on “An Unexpected Life . . .

  1. Oh, Shonnie! I know I’m late to the conversation, but I’m crying here now for your joy. Hooray for YOU and your beautiful family and your AMAZING son! My view of prayer is simple: It gives our minds and souls a place to cry out when we can’t do anything else. It cannot do harm, it can only ever do good whether one’s faith is weak, strong or nonexistent. I am so very, very happy that your prayers were heard, Shonnie!

  2. My Darling Shonnie!!! I’m so sorry I’ve been such a bad blogging buddy recently – I am going to catch up as soon as I can but I read this entry and I HAVE to say…………. CONGRATULATIONS to Collin – that is such an achievement – it is a proud moment for any parent, but under your circumstances it must resonate even more – to watch you child be independent – to have learned a skill like driving (I didn’t learn to drive until I was 23!!!) such an incredible moment for you all – yes, a real blessing – and I don’t think anyone who was not religious would take that away from you – and if they did, they wouldn’t be someone I’d want to know! Celebrate, do a little dance, cry and laugh! It’s one of many wonderful moments to come – I’m so happy for you all 🙂 xxx

    • Thanks Dizi — I have had my moments being a bad blog buddy too. Just don’t be running away. I would miss you too much. If you go we have to keep in touch some way!

      • Well it’s been a tough ride this past few months – I’m feeling a bit in the pits so to speak – not doing very well in myself – I’ve lost focus and drive – feel like I’m flipping straight back to the old me 😦 but don’t worry – I’m here to pester you lol I’ve found gold in you – I wont be throwing that away!!! I NEED YOU! 🙂 xxx

  3. Don’t let the face scare you. I’m really a pretty nice guy. I loved your post. I would never be offended by people with faith. I wish I had more of it sometimes. I’m commenting because I have also struggled with my weight, and I have a special needs child. I am lucky that his problems aren’t as severe as your sons. He has high functioning Aspergers Syndrome, which means he is smart to the point of being brilliant, but is socially inept, especially with kids his own age. He never plays sports , and doesn’t have friends, but he’s fifteen now and starting to make progress. I picked him up at school yesterday, and he was actually talking to a girl. I wish you and your son well. I read some of your other posts and you have a great attitude. I write a humor blog, and have always been the one trying to be funny. I think it was because of my weight. I’m no longer “real” heavy, but I still struggle. The one good thing is that I now write humor not just to fit in, but to feel good about myself. Keep writing such wonderful posts, and take care.

    • Thanks Bothered for stopping by and commenting. Well, it sounds like our son’s would get along great. We tried sports. he was a part of a soccer team and his coach told him to push up the field (run up it) and Collin dropped down and started doing push ups. Then he looked over at me another time and yelled he had to go to the bathroom and ran off the fleld. We decided that it wasn’t fair for the team for Collin to play. He does do band well though. 🙂 Hope we keep in touch. 🙂

    • Thanks Jezi,

      That is what I thought about when I tought of being alive for this day. There was a time when we were in the thick of things we weren’t sure how long I would be with everyone. Thankfully that isn’t the case now. 😀

  4. Your post made me cry at work! (Well, of course, I shouldn’t have been on Facebook.) It is wonderful when one of these kids who have been given a limited future by medical professionals, prove them wrong.

    As far as worrying about leaving your family stranded due to serious health problems from overweight, I hear you. That was a major motivation for me to lose weight. I am needed way to much on this earth to leave any time soon. We can feel good that our efforts to lose weight are helping our families as well as ourselves!

    • Same here girl. My job is far from finished and well …. I am so glad things are looking up in this arena! 🙂 i have a few more to lose to be in the safe zone, but it sure feels good to be here! 😀

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  6. Shonnie: I got your post on my Smartphone at work and it just tore me up. I could hardly wait to get home and let you know how much your story touched me. I am so happy for you that you got to see your “baby” take this major step. And about your faith that got you here: Don’t ever apologize for the miraculous manifestation of faith. Whether people will admit it or not, it lifts us all in heart and spirit and gives us hope in a very dark and troublesome world when someone comes along and says: I believed and it was so.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

    • Awe … Thank you for such a sweetheart comment. You have no idea how much your words touch my heart. Thank you. Thank you for your vote of confidence in my/our faith. I am so not ashamed–thanks for saying what I always hope — that my faith would encourage those who have none to hope again. 🙂

  7. Wow what a wonderful, heartfelt, touching post that was. I thank you so much for welcoming your readers into you and your family lives. It’s amazing how we go through so many trials and tribulations throughout this life that tests our ability and our faith in God. In which the weak may linger, but only the strong survive. You’ve survived and made it through all the trials and tribulations that you’ve had to withstand in your life. Yeah, I know the very thought of you son flying away from the nest is a scary thought, but you’ve raised him up to become a good God fearing man and you’ve instilled in him to have very good values and standards. So no need to worry for your son with be alright in the name of Jesus I pray of thee amen!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Hey Nesha girl! I have missed you so! I am so excited for you and the things you have going on in your life. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read my blog. You always leave me such encouraging comments. Thank you so much. You bless my soul.

  8. OMG Shonnie what a wonderful post! My favorite so far. You are such an AWESOME person! I pray for all of the people I follow who blog. I rejoice with you over the progress of your precious son. Our God is an awesome God. I am so happy for you.

    • Awe Thanks Charles! Thank you for the encouraging words. Thank you for the prayers and your heart that rejoices with me. That means a LOT to me. God is so very good! 😀

  9. Having spent time with your precious miracle, I can only say, “Yeah, God!” He longs to bless us… and He does, beyond our imaginings.

    Collin is such a precious young man, and his intelligence does show. Maybe he doesn’t convey it in the manner society deems “normal”… but has society looked at itself? I’m not sure we want Collin to be “normal”! Our Creator has plans for His creation and it will be exciting to see those plans unfold… we’ll just make sure Mama has an entire box of Kleenex at her disposal! 😉

    • Beth, He is such a blessing, I am so glad you were able to meet him. I don’t want Collin to be “normal” I love the gift that God gave to me. Collin has been far more a blessing than a trial–how else would I have seen God’s amazing grace in my life. God is Good! 🙂

      Girl — I have the kleenex spread all over the house! hehe!

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