September was a tough month around here, and I am glad it is over. But on a more positive note, we made some progress in a few areas that give me hope that easier days are ahead.
In August, I found out that my stepdad needed to be transferred to a memory care facility. He and my mom lived in the North Georgia mountains for years, and there are very few options for advanced care. So, his sons made the decision to move him down to Florida, near them. It was up to me to move my mom. She didn’t require memory care, but she did need some kind of assistance. I will go into more detail on that situation another time. There’s so much to share.
While this is happening, Jaxon continues to struggle with behavior. In fact, it started to increase in severity and I was at a complete loss of what to do to help him. When you are already bogged down mentally, physically, and emotionally due to unexpected life changes in your parent’s lives and a child you don’t know how to help, his newest upticks in negative behavior make it even harder.
I cried most days and was at a loss of how to move forward in either situation. It’s been tough.
I spent the month of August searching for a place for mom to live that she could afford and could adequately care for her. She signed on the dotted line on August 31. Then came the fun part – relocating her and her belongings from one state to another.
Then I spent September getting my mother situated in her new home, catching up on missed work, and trying to find help for Jaxon. To say I was spent is an understatement. Getting a 76 year old situated is a lot coupled with managing a two 1/2-year-old exhibiting new negative behaviors. I am not sure which is more manageable.
Enter a friend of mine whose son has autism. She knows the struggles first hand. She saw and heard the stress in my voice and came over one Saturday a few weeks ago. She came to answer any questions I had and to observe the behaviors that concerned us. She spent hours working with Jaxon and us. We recreated some scenarios to show her what happens and how we deal with it.
Needless to say, I was doing everything wrong. What works on what they call a neurotypical child does not work on a child who is developmentally delayed and is somewhere on the spectrum.
Given her experiences with her own son over the years, she was able to teach me techniques that work with her son.
I am happy to report they are already working to reduce the stress in my life and help Jaxon with expressing himself. We have a long way to go, but just knowing how to implement these tools and when has made a big difference in daily life.
Are Jaxon’s behavior issues gone? No. But I don’t feel hopeless or alone in dealing with them anymore. Someone I know understands, and she went one step further and called in reinforcements.
It got me thinking. If I hadn’t started attending church years ago, I would have never met this woman. She wouldn’t have come to my house. She wouldn’t have called the therapist she knew from her own son’s struggles. I wouldn’t have known about this therapist who I had met at church. We wouldn’t be getting the help we so desperately need right now while we wait for the court system to determine custody.
I suppose one could say you don’t need to go to church to meet other moms of autistic children. That’s true. You do not have to go to church to get help.
But in all the moments I found myself crying in my bedroom closet so no one else knew how overwhelmed I was, the Lord heard every word and saw every tear roll down my face. It was in those moments I cried out to the Lord and he answered my pleas.
He sent people I knew and could trust to help with Jaxon. The Lord sent someone who wouldn’t judge me for my failures or call me cruel or abusive for the ways we were trying to protect Jaxon from self-injury. I have been called that and worse in some Facebook groups when I tried to seek help for specific situations. It seems some have forgotten they too were once in my shoes.
I can’t imagine where I would be without putting my hope in the Lord. This past year has been very tough. I thought 2020 was rough, but 2021 has been rougher, but God.
But God has been with me each day. When the waters seem to overwhelm me, God.
The days I can’t think straight because of all the information I am trying to process – God.
All the times I try to fix it myself – God.
When I am ready to throw in the towel – God.
The Lord knew a long time ago Jaxon would be in my care and he trusted me and knew I wouldn’t stop trying to get this little boy help. God has opened up some doors for me to get Jaxon help.
God provided a wonderful place for my mom to live where I do not have to worry about the kind of care she is getting.
I am in a season of learning about things I knew nothing about. I am learning all about end-of-life care for an elderly parent on one end and how to deal with a developmentally delayed child on the other end and both at the same time.
Talk about big. It’s big and there is a lot to learn and quickly. I liken it to cramming in 9 weeks of two classes into 4 weeks with fluid situations that can change at any moment.
I am also learning how to trust the Lord completely to provide and walk me through this season. And did I mention patience? I am learning to be more patient as I walk through the trials.
Is it easy?
No. Have I learned a lot and made mistakes? Yes.
My friends joke with me and say it sounds like I have another novel coming someday. They’re right, I hope to.
In the meantime, I am gathering the words that will fill those blank pages.
I never saw any of this coming and I am so grateful I can lean on my faith and put my hope in the Lord. I dare not imagine what life would be like right now without that hope.
Wait a minute. I don’t have to imagine. I tried 25 years ago to live without the Lord and it was a trainwreck. I already know how it is and I was miserable and alone. As they say, “Been there and done that.”
If you have never put your hope in the Lord, I encourage you to do so right away. He knows the beginning and end of your story. We are here for such a time as this. Days will be tough, but they are tougher without the Lord.
Goodbye September 2021.
The Teaching Lady