Okay so this evening was a little rough. My husband had to work late and it usually takes two of us to brush Landon’s teeth. Even with a sensory toothbrush, strawberry flavored toothpaste and the assurance that we will be “all done” with brushing his teeth as quickly as we can, it involves a huge fight on Landon’s part with limbs flailing, him yelling, crying and basically acting like we are trying to brutally murder him.
Usually Murry and I obtain bites, scratches and bruises in the process. Even though we have brushed his teeth everyday for probably the last seven years, every day we get the same reaction from Landon.
This is just one tiny facet of what it means for your child to have severe autism. Well, today Murry had to work late so I had to complete this lovely teeth brushing task on my own. (Yes, I have considered never brushing his teeth and basically letting his teeth rot out. And this is coming from a person who has never had a cavity. So yeah, autism can affect you on levels you never really dreamed of….)
Anyway, I don’t know what it was about tonight. But as I was attempting to hold my 63 pound son down in order to brush his teeth, I realized he really did not understand why I was brushing his teeth. He does not understand the fact that he already has cavities and I’m trying to avoid him having to go to the operating room, have him put under general anesthesia just to get cavities filled. He’s thinking “Mama is just torturing me and she knows I hate this because of my sensory system being in overdrive and yet, she still does this every single day.”
I don’t know what it was about tonight. Usually I hold the emotions in check, but as I was holding him after I finished brushing his teeth, while he was still screaming and fighting me, my own tears started. I realized looking into his confused eyes, that he has no idea why we brush his teeth. Will he ever understand? Will he ever be able to realize we are doing this because we love him and want to take care of him no matter how much he hates us, bruises us, bites us?
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Are we ever that way with our Heavenly Father? Do we fight Him and say “how can you do this to me” while only viewing our situation from our own limited understanding and perspective? Do we ask God how He can allow a health problem or relationship problem or financial problem in our life? Do we ask God why He’s letting all these negative circumstances happen to us? Do we ask what we did to deserve this and is it fair? Do we treat God the way Landon treats us when we brush his teeth?
Sometimes God calms the storm, sometimes He calms us. He wants us to have a bigger perspective than just our own. We have to trust Him that he is going to work ALL things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
I once read a quote that said “Just because the story has a happy ending doesn’t mean you can’t cry during the sad parts.”
Well, I had a sad part tonight. But after my tears, I had to stop and look toward the future…the future of Landon’s healing, the future of our eternity in Heaven, the future of a perfect life with Jesus.
I know that tonight was just a moment in time. (I am not minimizing the fact that it is very overwhelming and draining to say the least of being an autism parent.) But in the morning the sun will rise and Landon will jump in my lap and give me kisses. And I’ll cherish that moment. I’ll hold it in my heart and I will smile. And it will be a glimpse of the way it will be all the time in Heaven. And then we won’t even remember the tears.