“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning…” Lam 3:22-23
I wake up tired. She wakes up autistic. And the day will be a day of striving.
I must coax her, ask her, assist her to do everything today.
I reach for her hand, urge her to get out of bed so I can take her to the bathroom.
She resists me and wrenches her hand away.
We battle to get the teeth brushed and the face washed. Putting on clothes takes Herculean effort.
Then brushing her curly locks, drinking the med in her juice, going down stairs, going up stairs, getting in car, getting out of car – all major mountains to climb today.
She finds a new toy, and I eagerly try to show her how it works. She refuses, turns her back and runs away.
The trying for “good hands” – no grabbing people’s clothes, no yanking people’s hair – falls short.
The trying for good walking – no flopping – falls short.
There are no words today, only anguished screaming, shirt-chewing and arm-biting.
In my mind it will take too much time. It will ask of me more than I can give… at least without murmuring children-of-Israel style and feeling weary and being angry for me and angry for her and wondering does anyone know about this autism???
When evening comes she soils her pants again – it’s her second round. In the space of time it takes for me to run upstairs and grab a clean pair, the Ex-Lax and Miralax that I battled her to drink in the morning… really kicks in. She has a massive accident there at the kitchen table. Her fingers, face, hair, feet and legs find the brown stuff. And the rug beneath her is destroyed.
I try to get her out of the chair, try to carry her upstairs, try to prevent more mess.
She fights me.
She doesn’t know what else to do.
And then I’m the one screaming, sinking.
After she’s cleaned, we struggle more. To get out of the tub, to get pajamas on, to get to the bedroom and into bed.
I rush to close the door on the day. On my way out I look back at my lovely baby curled up in bed. The nightly dose of Clonidine has put her sleep, given her an escape from the overwhelming world.
Does she know? That I love her with such an immense love that it breaks my heart and fills it to overflowing all at once? That nothing – no autism or striving or emotional distance – could ever keep her from my love?
I long to hold her, kiss away the hurt, and tell her it’s ok and she’s never alone.
“I’m sorry, baby. Mommy fought so much today…”
I walk over and touch a curl. “But new mercies in the morning, babe, thank God. I love you with all I’ve got. I’m so proud of you.”
As always I whisper the words into the silence, I love you, sweet girl.
Trusting she knows. Hoping she hears.