Tag Archives: love

I cried on the way home

It happened last Friday after picking up my daughter from school.

Every day when I pick her up, I ask the open-ended “How was your day?” when she hops in the front seat. Unlike Jacob, who promptly gives me one word utterances when asked such preposterous questions, Emma knows what I want to know. Well, to be fair, Jacob also knows what I want to know, but chooses not to elaborate.

On Friday, when I picked Emma up, we exchanged the usual niceties. But when she got to sharing about her European History class (another post for another day), she told me there had been a substitute that day and they had been assigned an essay to complete during class time.

She said she was busily trying to complete the essay during the time allotted, but was finding herself distracted by a group of three boys in her class. I asked what they were doing that was so distracting.

“Well, Mom, there is this boy in my class who I know has some special needs. He reminds me a lot of Jacob actually. A lot. His name is Alex.” *

“In what way does he remind you of Jacob?”

“Well, he talks to himself a lot like Jacob does. And he gets really upset sometimes, like when he misses something on a quiz. He will bang on his desk or be flipping though the pages of his textbook saying, ‘That’s not fair! That wasn’t in the reading!!’ or something like that.”

“Yeah, that does sound a lot like Jacob back in the day.”

“Yeah, well, it wasn’t Alex who was so distracting. Today, these other boys in the class were being really loud talking to each other and one of them was all the way across the room. And, well, they were making fun of Alex, Mom.”

<Insert the sound of a record scratching and the world coming to a screeching halt HERE>

“They were what??”

“They were totally making fun of him. I guess I never noticed it before because Mr. L is always talking or we are having a class discussion.”

“What do you mean? What were they saying?”

“Stuff like, ‘Ooooh, watch out! I bet Alex is gonna get all rage-y today’ and then, Alex got up to sharpen his pencil and when he was walking by, they said, ‘Oooh, I hope sharpening his pencil doesn’t send him into one of his rages!’”

Here is where I started to lose it.

I was so upset at the thought of this happening. I know bullying goes on every day in every single school setting (and non-school setting) in this nation. Not only to kids with autism but also to scrawny, nerdy, overweight, effeminate, unpopular, shy, or <fill in your own adjective here> kids.

But, y’all, this hit me in such a tender spot.

That could have been Jacob.

It could have been your kid. Maybe it is your kid. Maybe it was you when you were a kid.

I could feel myself going off the deep end.

“That is just so wrong! Do you think Alex heard them? Do you think he realizes they are making fun of him?”

“Yeah. He was kinda glaring at them as he was at the pencil sharpener.”

I was totally weeping now and babbling incoherently about Emma needing to tell those guys that they were a bunch of ignorant jerks and needed to cut it out. And how if she didn’t feel comfortable doing that, that I would email Mr. L and tell him myself.

Emma was giving me the “uh-oh, Mom’s really lost it this time” look.

And I think I had lost it.

“This, THIS, is why I will never, ever regret not sending Jacob to that place!” I said through my tears.

My heart was breaking, knowing that, without the one-on-one assistant Jacob had in public school from third grade through eighth grade, it would have been him. He would have been relentlessly bullied. I know it. Regardless of my mama bear interference.

And my heart was breaking for Alex.

A boy who is obviously capable of doing AP European History level work. Who has as much right to be in that classroom as those other boys. Who doesn’t deserve the treatment he was receiving.

I wondered if Alex’s mom was aware that this is happening. I wondered if it had been Jacob, would someone have spoken up for him? I wanted to go punch those three jerk-y kids in the throat.

But then, I know that ignorance and insecurity drive kids to say and do such things. And my insane knee-jerk behavior would not be the right response.

And so, I haven’t taken any action—yet. But for six days I have not been able to get Alex out of my mind.

I just keep asking myself, who will speak for Alex? WHO?

This past Sunday morning as we were worshipping in a church we have visited a couple of times, I noticed a family walk in just a couple of minutes late and and get situated on the front row. Emma looked at me with wide eyes and said, “Mom, that’s Alex! That’s the kid in my history class!”

My eyes started welling up again. The hair stood up on the back of my neck and I fought to regain my composure as I watched Alex.

I do not believe in coincidence. Though I did not meet up with Alex and his family that day, I am thinking our paths will cross again.

1Thes5.14woverlay

We—collectively—have a responsibility to these kids. Both the bullied and the bullies. The bullied need to be loved, protected, empowered and encouraged. The bullies need to be held accountable and taught how to love themselves and how to respect others who are not like them. We have a responsibility to love on them both and to teach them about what love is—about WHO love is.

Bullies definitely need to be held accountable for their actions. They also need to be shown that there is a different way. I ask you, who will love the bullies enough to hold them accountable? Who will love them enough to tell them they don’t have to be that way?

We have a responsibility to teach our kids to friend the friendless, to stand up for the ones who can not or will not stand up for themselves. We must teach our kids to speak truth, to stand up for truth and for what is right. If enough kids do that, then the voices of the bullies will be silenced and kids like Alex will be more free to be who God created them to be.

*name has been changed

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Filed under Autism Days, Kids

Ooey Gooey Confetti Love

Dear Jacob,

Eighteen years ago, on this day, the most amazing thing happened and life, as I knew it, changed forever—all because of you.

We had waited for you. Prayed for you. Hoped for you. Dreamed about you.

It was Valentine’s Day.

The day that is so much about love. It was a perfect day to be born, really. Because having a child, becoming a mother, is like having a big old truckload of love poured into your heart until it is so full and so big for your body, that it explodes into a bazillion confetti hearts that flutter down all over you and cover you with love on the outside too. You just become one big ball of ooey gooey love covered in confetti hearts, all melty and messy.

Yep, it was just like that.

Jacob 5 mos oldAnd there you were, my precious boy—my heart walking around outside my body, and I was never the same.

We have watched you all these years, grow and laugh, struggle and cry, persevere and mature. You are becoming a man. And it breaks my heart and fills me with so much joy and pride.

You are an incredible gift from God. Through all your struggles, you have taught me so much. You have taught me compassion, gratitude, patience, and flexibility.

Because of you, I’ve learned that things don’t always work out the way you planned; sometimes things work out better. God’s plans and ways are so much bigger and better than mine, anyway.

You have taught me that when one way of doing something doesn’t work, you try something else. And you keep trying until you find “the thing” that does. I’ve learned how to fight for you and be your advocate.

I’ve learned that “normal” is overrated and that doing things in a way that may look completely nuts to other people is okay. I’ve also learned not to care what others think and to listen and smile and nod when people offer “helpful” advice. I’ve also learned to accept advice that is genuinely helpful.

I’ve learned that it is okay to let you do things in your own way (not all the time, of course! *wink*), because we don’t always look at things the same way. And hey, you’re a pretty smart guy, so you know what you are talking about. But I’ve also learned to push you to try things that might be scary or difficult (for all of us!). And I’ve had to push myself as well. We’ve grown together—you and Daddy and me.

Jacob casual senior pic 001You are kind, compassionate, brilliant, sensitive, persevering and hilarious. You are so strong. You have worked so hard to get to where you are, to overcome some challenging obstacles. You amaze me. I have no doubt that you will make your mark on this world and that the world will be all the better for it. I know I am.

It’s gone by so fast. Eighteen years. How did we get here? My heart still explodes with that same confetti love each time I look at you, at that face, those eyes—those brilliant hazel eyes. Just like the first time I saw you on Valentine’s Day 1995.

I could not be more proud to know you and call you my son. You are more precious to me than you could ever begin to know.

Happy Birthday, Jacob.

I love you. With a big old truckload of bursting-heart-ooey-gooey-confetti-love that is messy and beautiful and wonderful.

XOXOXO

Mom

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Filed under Family, Jacob, Parenting

What now?

Isaiah5410

Like so many of you, I am still reeling from the events of last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. There are really no words to adequately describe the horror and the sadness and there is no way I can begin to understand the depth of the mourning of those who have been directly affected.

I am praying for them. I am praying for our nation.

And I am trusting in the unfailing love of a God who has compassion for his people and who promises to never leave us nor forsake us, whose love will not be shaken, even when we are shaken to the core. Even when horrible things happen that are impossible to explain.

I believe that God’s heart is broken too. And in the midst of the terrible actions that humanity sometimes takes because of our free will to choose, He holds those of us who are hurting so deeply close to His heart and weeps and mourns with us.

I don’t know what the answers are, but I do know that we live in a fallen world where, daily, man chooses to ignore the laws of this nation. What makes us think that more laws are going to force man to make different choices? The only thing that can cause man to make difference choices is a change in his heart. Angry political rhetoric and blaming guns or blaming autism or blaming mental illness or blaming video games or blaming parenting or whatever else you want to blame, does nothing to change the hearts of men.

Only God can do that.

More important than finding answers, though, I think we need to remember that there are people out there who have suffered terrible loss. We need to focus on loving on and praying for those who are hurting—to try to encourage them and point them toward hope.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore, I will wait for Him.” ~Lamentations 3:21-24 NIV

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Filed under Faith