Thursday, July 19, 2012

Notebook Paper Protective Covering (and other doomed ideas)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

Cooler evenings are a wonderful break for we, the web-footed Washingtonians, who become grumpy and lethargic when our thermostats dare break past 85.  One particularly toasty day had caused a case of the uber-grumps.  As soon as the temperature on our front porch read lower than our family room, I grabbed a bowl and headed out to pick huckleberries.  My eldest son, Alan, soon followed, saying his brother wouldn't join him, because he was "working on something."  That "something" is in the photo you see above you-- well, that's one of them, anyway ...

Wyatt was rather toasty still, and couldn't find his shorts.  Rather than ask for help, he decided to walk outside in his little boxer-briefs and two pieces of paper, both of which read: "Too gross to see." 

He explained that he was too hot to wear pants, and didn't want us to get a ticket for "indecent exposure."  While I was fairly certain that our local sheriff's department would probably see my son as more of an adorable source of amusement than cause for a fine, I told him we should probably find another way to help him keep cool.  

"No, mommy," my son protested, I'm just fine like this!  As long as I don't move sideways and I always hold my signs, nobody will see that I'm wearing just my underwear.  I will stay cool and I won't be breaking any laws.  My plan will work!"       

I asked him how he could pick berries, play on the swing set or ride his scooter like that, and asked him if he was sure he didn't want me to help him think of another solution-- which lead to my little man dropping his signs, curling up into a ball on my porch and sobbing, "My plans just NEVER work!  My whole day will be TERRIBLE!"  

With that, my heart hurt for my defeated son-- not just because he was so upset, but because he felt unnecessarily hopeless.  I knew right where his shorts were in his drawer, and I would have been happy to help him.  Unfortunately, Wyatt's encounters two gigantic hurdles when dealing with situations like this: 1.) he has to look at the situation from an angle he did not previously calculate or expect, and 2.) he has to ask for help.  Those may seem like little speed bumps to you, but for someone on the autism spectrum, they are mountains.  

My first instinct was to scoop him up, bring him inside and put on his shorts for him.  That would be less drama for everyone, right?  Well, in the short term, yes.  However, these skills will not become less of a need in his life, nor will they become easier without practice.  I have to walk the tedious, repetitious and frequently frustrating road of gently coaching him, but not forcing him.  Empowering him, but not enabling him to sit back and expect that someone else will always do things for him, especially if he does not communicate the need for assistance.  It's exhausting.  It's relentless.  It's --exactly what God does with me.  

I cannot count the number of times I have conjured up what I had conceived to be the perfect plan for my life.  In my little human perception, I had thought everything through, and all I needed was for God to secure my little paper plans in place, and I'd be SET!  I hadn't bothered asking God for his opinion on the matter, since, after all, I had it all worked out!  "Just bring on the supernatural superglue, LORD, and I'm good to go!" 

When He says "no" to helping me bring a doomed plan into fruition, I seldom even consider that I'm being spared from something disastrous.  No, I generally sit on my bed, wondering when I will come up with the perfect plan, lamenting how hard my life will be, since I can't have what I THINK I want or need. 

Finding the right path in my life takes two difficult steps: 1.) I have to admit that I might not have the best plan, and I need God's help (Mmmmmm, who wants a slice of humble pie?)  and 2.) I have to be willing to look at a situation in a way that might not even make sense to me.  

Once Wyatt got calm enough to ask me for help, he was NOT impressed with the suggestion I gave him.  I told him I would show him where they were in his drawer.  "No, mama-- they're not there!  I know they're not, because I already looked!"  Because I know my son, I know that he doesn't always look past the first layer in any given area.  I knew the shorts were UNDER the pants he had deemed "too hot to wear."  It took a lot of coaching, patience I do not naturally possess and biting my lip (at times until it nearly bled) for a good thirty minutes before we got this kiddo in shorts.  As I began to feel a sense of great accomplishment and just a hint of pride, I remembered how many days, weeks, months and sometimes YEARS God patiently waits for me to come around to His perfect, wonderful and amazingly compassionate plan for me!  

I'm so thankful that He doesn't just leave me locked outside, holding my pathetic little paper signs, convinced I've got it all figured out.  I've said many times that there is no manual for raising a highly inflexible, hyper-focused, highly intelligent, yet lacking in reason child like Wyatt, forgetting that my Heavenly Father made both my children!  He is on call 24/7, waiting for me to simply ask Him for guidance and possibly embrace a new avenue!  I know I certainly didn't expect spiritual growth to come from my son tromping outside in His skivvies-- just more proof that His ways are NOT our ways! 

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About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)