November 30, 2021

answered prayers

It changes so quickly with Perry. He had been doing so well all afternoon. We had such a nice time at a friends Christmas lighting party. He filled his plate up with mints. Overflowing mints. He was so excited about it that it was difficult to be upset at him over it. He was happy and content. 

Until he wasn't. 

We never know if it is triggered by a sensory overload, anxiety, attention seeking, trauma influenced, control seeking, a combination of all of those, or something else entirely. There is no consistent pattern or way to completely predict.

Saturday night he lost control. Big time. He was aggressive and manic. He was verbally threatening, screaming, and hitting me. We had him in his room as he preceded to throw and toss anything he could get his hands on. I'd walk out of the room and come back in to check him. There wasn't anything I could say or do. He just wasn't calming down. He went Hulk.

Standing outside your child's door listening to them scream uncontrollably for long periods of time has to be one of the hardest things to experience as a parent. I felt helpless, frustrated, exhausted, bewildered, and depleted. In various degrees, this is a daily occurrence. I've learned to disassociate it from it for the most part. But that is not always possible or easy to do. My patience was growing thin that night and I felt close to my own helpless meltdown. 

I stood in the dark hallway with one hand on the door knob of Perry's room. I lifted my head up and pleaded with Heavenly Father for his help. I was maybe challenging His decision to allow me to be a mother and questioning Him about how in the heck I was supposed to keep doing THIS day after day. I told Him I needed help. I'm not sure how much faith I had, but I had total sincerity in my pleading.

I said Amen and opened the door not knowing what else I should do. I stepped in. I knew my job was to be the calm. To be the safety. To teach him to regulate himself. 

He was ripping his sheets off and speaking all sorts of angry things at me. The thought came to my mind to pull out his Harry Potter picture book and read to him. I brushed the thought aside and tried to talk to him and think of what else I could say to deescalate him. I had the thought again to suggest reading Harry Potter together. I decided it wouldn't hurt to ask him if he wanted me to read to him on his bed. 

I do not know why this was the thing that worked that night, but it did.

I haven't tried to read him those books in over a year. I don't ever think about them. I didn't know if they were on his shelf or where they even were in his closet. 

I don't know why I had that thought to read to him. Except that God answered my prayer. He inspired me with the idea that was the thing that Perry would respond to that night. He heard me. He knew Perry. He helped us.

And so Perry helped me put his sheet back on his bed and replace the pillows and blankets. He snuggled close to me and I read the first few pages of Harry Potter (until he requested that audible take over for me). 

Now every night we look forward to reading a few pages together. We lay side by side in his bed and he talks about his day and begs me to stay longer when it's time for me to get up (of course I stay a few minutes more).

I know this Harry Potter thing isn't a long term solution to the challenges of autism or anything, but it was a reminder to me that all I need to do is ask God and He will help me. He can help me in the "small" things of life. He is there. I felt noticed and cared for. I felt empowered. As I put forth effort, He will be the difference. He knows more than me and loves more perfectly than me so maybe I should keep trusting and turning to Him. 

(pictures from Spring lifestyle photos taken by my friend, not from saturday night)