01 March 2010

my waiting room friend

The autumn before I had Baby J I was growing daily larger and more hormonal and working to cope with the imminent winter "mood swings" of my oldest child. All we knew at the time was that he dramatically declined in almost every way during the colder months of the year. School was more difficult each day, attitude seeped from his every pore, his face wore a cloud of anger across it. He freely sassed his teacher and meltdowns seemed the core of his existence. Intense does not begin to describe it. We could not find a specific trigger. But each month was worse. And yes, he was only six years old still.

He was lonely. There was a one boy he was becoming good friends with and an effort toward a few others, but his social cravings did not line up with his social abilities. He was an easy target for bullies and his intelligence was easily bored by the education he was receiving.

I was lonely. In the "mommy world" I felt like a complete failure as a parent, in spite of my every effort to be the best I could be. I had friends who listened, who tried to understand what I was going through with my son, who cared. But they didn't really get it. Sure, my friends had their struggles, but in my mind their lives were "charmed" compared to mine – we didn't have occasional bad days; we had occasional good days.

If February is the hardest month I can think of, then October should have only been a warm-up session. But one evening in early or mid October I was trying to cope with a major meltdown of my son's and at some point I finally kicked my foot through the wall. Now, my husband was in the hallway between my son's room and me, so to this day Little B does not know how come there is a white patch of unpainted wall behind the Curious George poster that graces the hallway at an odd height. Or why there is torn sheetrock immediately behind that wall, beneath the bathroom light switch. Apparently I have a strong kick. Or temper. (No, I do not make this a habit!)

I talked to the Lord that night about a lot of things. One of which was a need for a friend. I do have some very dear friends so don't misunderstand this need: it was very specific. I was assured that the Lord understood and heard me very clearly in less than 48 hours.

At this time, we still had Little B in Occupational Therapy for his Sensory Processing Disorder. Each week we'd arrived with my pregnant belly and Miss C's adorable two-and-a-half year old self. I'd tell the therapist of anything going on (like meltdowns that bring mommy's foot through the wall), sometimes show her the teacher's comments in Little B's agenda, and then sit for an hour with Miss C trying to open the door to the back of the office and/or playing with the waiting room toys.

The therapy appointment after my foot-in-wall episode was different. The therapist told me that Little B would have another boy in half of his therapy each week – doing joint activities for social and other purposes – a "peer." My heart began to lift like a helium balloon. I took one look at the lady in the waiting room with thick, dark hair. She had an open and friendly face. And I knew in that moment my God had heard my pleading.

For the rest of the school year, we spent an hour each week in that waiting room talking. Not once was it enough time to finish all that we wanted or needed to say. Her son does not have the same issues as Little B. In fact, they are far removed from what we deal with. However, she easily grasped that there are kids with different "special" needs.

There was not a breath of censure in her voice if she heard of a hard day as it is in our home. She plied me with the right kinds of questions. She shared her heart and her concerns with her own son. She listened.

Three months after I met her, she visited me in the hospital when Baby J was born and I hugged her and told her that she had no idea how much of an answer to prayer she was. She told me it went both ways. I love how personally my prayer was answered.

Even after our mutual therapy appointments ended, we stayed in touch with sporadic visits and phone calls. And now, as I mentioned recently, we are attempting to overlap another doctor's appointment for the simple reason of finding time to visit. I suppose we just do well in waiting rooms.

Recently, I told her of putting my foot through the wall the weekend before I met her and she had the grace to pop her eyes open wider and laugh about it with me.

***As an important side note, Little B has since been given further diagnoses of Anxiety and mild Asperger's Syndrome. By making a very difficult choice to medicate him last spring, he has made great strides of improvements. February just ended. It used to be the longest month of the year for me. Not so this time.***


Hannah said...

So sweet! I love how the Lord answered your specific prayer -- almost as if He sent an angel to meet you. I know how isolating it can be to have a child with "issues."
I'm also glad that he's doing better, and that your walls have remained relatively hole-free! :-)

StephieAnne said...

I love it when God is so obvious in his blessings. I'm so glad you met her and your isolation was lessened.

I'm also glad that you have found some success in the routes that you have taken, including medication. About a year ago, we made the choice to have our son "try out" Concerta, a medication for ADHD. It was hard as the internet and strangers can give you so many reasons why it's so awful to consider - and yet, for us, it made a profound difference. We were lucky that Brayden's symptoms weren't "radical" to begin with, but to be able to see him gain success in areas we didn't really expect, it's just been so amazingly affirming.

My best friend's son, who is 6, has autism - potentially Asperger's - though they aren't as concerned with the specifics as they are with the progress. Adam has very mild issues, but in some ways, I think that it has its own form of difficulties, in that he is able to exist in group settings, but not "quite fit in". (Not to mention the emotional struggles with a son who does not exhibit a great deal of affection, and tends to shy away from interaction).

While I can't say I've walked in your shoes at all, based on my friendship with Lisa, my eyes have been dramatically opened. Once again, I'm thankful for the ways that God has revealed his blessings to you!