Thursday, July 26, 2012
When Lizzie was first diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, she struggled with echolalia (repeating or echoing favorite phrases, or words) and she wore thick glasses, she was in and out of the doctors every cold and flu season and at the time it all seemed as if she would never be a functioning adult. Part of it was because I was discouraged and part of it was she hadn't begun school yet so we weren't really sure what to expect. We were still trying to wrap our heads around her diagnosis and didn't know what to expect from Elizabeth.
Before her diagnosis, it never occurred to me to wonder what would become of her? And once she started school, the pieces began to slowly fall into place. Speech began to emerge a little here, a little there until the child who would sit quietly for hours in the car could not stop talking. It was great!! Maybe not for Sarah, because she didn't understand, but for Chris and I we were ecstatic. Then after a year of Kindergarten to work on her social skills, we started Kindergarten again to work on academics and slowly but surely it all began to happen.
In the between times though I wondered? Would Lizzie ever grow up and go to college? Would she ever get married? What about boys? How do we protect her from those who would hurt her? What could I have done differently? All of these questions and doubts plagued me until I realized I had to let them go and just trust that God had a plan for Elizabeth that was bigger than my dreams for her.
It looks simple on a page or computer screen, but it was anything but simple. It was a slow heartbreaking process and learning to take my hands off of the driver's wheel and allow God to steer her path and life. It got easier as I realized he had sent us to Spaght Elementary for a reason. The team there, especially Lizzie's Mrs. Silveous eased my anxiety little by little. The knot that lived in my stomach at IEP time, became more of nervous fluttering as I realized that they were working as hard as we were to help Elizabeth achieve so much.
Here is the thing, when we try to keep control of our lives, we inevitably make a mess out of them. Even with all of our planning, and trying to fix things, we end up messing it all up. I have slowly (and I do mean slowly) learned over the years that when I allow God to have control (even when I don't really want to) things don't end up so messy. Is it easy? NO! Is it best? You bet! Somehow the insurmountable doesn't seem as large when I know God takes care of it.
Even if you don't believe in God, try taking one day at a time. You will drive yourself nuts worrying about what hasn't happened yet. So take a few deep breaths and go minute by minute if you have to, but know each baby step will slowly add up over time.
I hope you all have a good rest of the week.