Huge Small Victories

IMG_5358This weekend we went away for Grayson’s 13th birthday.  I definitely wasn’t in a celebratory mindset going into the weekend, as we had gone through multiple mind changes and so much deliberating about where to go, who should be included, where we would eat at, what we would eat, what the hotel would be like, etc…etc…etc…

The small farm-to-table restaurant was delicious, but did not have “normal food.” There were multiple breaks where Grayson left the restaurant to calm down, and several episodes of concealed (but silent) tears beneath his tightly drawn hoodie while hiding his head underneath the table. Although he tried bites of everything I asked him to, his dinner basically ended up being the “normal” gluten, dairy, egg-free cake that I made for him and brought from home.

The next morning at breakfast, he walked up to our server to ask for his drink by himself and she patted him on the shoulder as he turned to walk away. It was this small, but monumental event that changed my dutiful weekend into a celebratory one, filled with gratitude, amazement and a quiet but firmly substantial joy. 

Any parent that has a kiddo with sensory issues, knows that a touch from a stranger has the potential to turn into a full blown meltdown. But on October 27, 2018, Grayson’s 13th birthday, he didn’t flinch. He didn’t even seem to notice that a stranger had touched his shoulder. 

I was reminded of being in a similar hotel in Missouri approximately 11 years ago. Grayson was sick and on prednisone and a complete mess. He was red-faced, screaming, and asking for juice in the hotel restaurant. He then proceeded to hurl the full cup of juice all over the floor once he received it. This was the same weekend that he bit his new baby sister’s toes and made her bleed for no apparent reason at all.

I also remembered the first time I tried to take him swimming with his siblings at the community rec center. After his screaming and crying calmed down, he proceeded to sit on my lap and repetitively buckle and unbuckle this life jacket for the duration of our time there. 

But on his 13th birthday, we went to a hotel and a new restaurant, and a monstrous skatepark with huge ramps. He didn’t have a melt down.  He asked for help from strangers when he needed it.  He navigated his way through the skatepark while we sat and watched and he tried new things and worked through his fears with the skills and coping mechanisms that have been taught to him by angel-teachers through the years. 

On the morning of his birthday, he wrote me this note, using the voice-to-text skill that was again given to him by teachers as a gentle accommodation when writing by hand was hard for him…IMG_5346

For any parents struggling through a brutal introduction to life with a special needs kiddo…it can get better. The progress is slow and often imperceptible, but the payoffs are immeasurable. I have learned more from him than he could ever learn from me, and although I have questioned over and over if I am the right mom for him, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the right child for me.

“Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.                     Love never fails.”                                                                                                                                    I Cor. 13:7

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10 thoughts on “Huge Small Victories

  1. What a beautiful celebration of hard- earned progress! Happy 13th birthday, Grayson! You, your family and your faith are incredible, Corey!

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  2. What a beautiful tribute to my 2 greatest heroes. Your journey has been pocked by many struggles and heartaches but wow. The love. So SO powerful. Grayson you rock! Corey you ARE a rock and an anchor for your whole family. I love you guys. Mom, Gramma

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    • Thank you Kevin. I am actually a little overwhelmed at people’s responses. I really just wrote this for myself to have something to remember the day by and I am so thankful to have so many people celebrate and appreciate Grayson with me. Thx for taking the time to comment. Love you!

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  3. Hey Corey,
    I have such a tiny glimpse into what your sorrows and happinesses are and would not presume a guess but I do know your heart, I’ve seen it and felt it and do share your struggles in my soul and as counter intuitive as it may seem, I’m so glad you’ve been chosen to suffer these vicissitudes.
    The apostle Paul also wrote “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time can in no wise be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.
    The contrast is immeasurable, but perceptible.
    I am confidant, more everyday, that everything is going as it should and I wouldn’t change a thing.
    You’re doing an awesome job!!!
    Uncle Dana

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    • Dana I completely agree with you. I feel that the suffering has been a gift for my family and myself. I would be a shell of a person without it, without Grayson…without all of my kids, really. I think it is this suffering and vulnerability that connects us as humans regardless of any differences we may have. One of my favorite quotes by (I think) Mother Theresa states that, “All the way to Heaven is Heaven.” I have come to believe this as true. Thx for taking the time to comment and for the encouragement!!❤️

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