We made it. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t organized. It wasn’t orderly. And it certainly wasn’t easy, but we did it.
The first day of school provides challenges for all families, no matter what the age or circumstance. However, the first day of school for parents with special needs children can be extremely difficult. As you know, I have four children – two of which are on the Autism Spectrum. Although my boys are highly functioning, changes in routines are always difficult. When I say ‘change of routine’ I’m not just referring to waking up earlier or going to the bus stop instead of the babysitter . . . . I’m talking about every teensy, tiny detail that changes. Things that us crazy non-autistic people don’t think of. Like pants.
Most kids are super excited about the first day of school because it means new clothes, new backpacks, new lunch boxes . . . new is good, right? Not for kids on the spectrum. I thought my battle with the pants ended in the dressing room at the store, however, I was sadly mistaken. I had convinced my son that the pants (that he was convinced were WAY too big) would be fine once he had his new school shoes on. He agreed and I thought it was over.
When I came downstairs this morning, I found him completely dressed (which was exciting) but already throwing a fit. The pant legs were covering the shoe laces of his new shoes! I had not anticipated this, therefore I did not have a plan.
I spent several minutes trying to convince him that they were the perfect fit and even offered to let him wear shorts if it bothered him that much. Nope. Not an option. The plan was to wear this outfit and we do not deviate from the plan.
I rolled up the pant legs. Not good enough. He suggested we cut the brand new pants. Not an option. Then it dawned on me…. Dr. Google! I grabbed the laptop and googled PROPER PANT LENGTH images. His response: You can’t always believe what you read on the internet. Seriously. Now you’re going to use that on me?
I showed him tons of pictures of people wearing pants that covered their shoe laces. His response: These are men, not kids. So, we google KIDS pant length. Guess what pops up? Stupid skinny jeans that come to the ankle! Come on – you’re killing me! I quickly exit out of the screen and search for bootleg cut jeans on kids. Finally – some kids wearing jeans that covered their shoe laces. It’s now 7:35 am, he hasn’t eaten breakfast, brushed his hair or brushed his teeth and we have to leave at 7:45 am. Not to mention there are still three other kids to get ready & out the door.
We eventually piled into the car – ten minutes early to the bus stop. However, the plan was to be at the bus stop fifteen minutes early. Therefore, because we did not stick to the plan, we missed the bus and had to chase the bus down three stops away.
No matter how much we try to plan, life gets in the way. And with Autism – there’s A LOT of life. And even though my son thinks he’s clothed in jeans that don’t fit . . .
I am clothed with strength and dignity. And I laugh without fear of the future.
How will you react when your plans of a perfect life come crumbling down? With anger, frustration, fear, resentment? You don’t have to. No one has to. Whether married, single, divorced, widowed – you are not alone. Jesus loves us all. And He is with us every step of the way. So, instead of freaking out during your next battle, (because it’s probably coming sooner than you think) listen to that soft quiet voice. After all – it’s His plan, isn’t it?