I never realized how many transitions there are in a day. Until it seemed like every passage or change in direction became a challenge for my girl.
These days she gets “stuck” and any movement from one room or activity to another comes only after much anticipating and strategizing.
I have quite the method for getting her to leave the kitchen table. She sits in her chair, gripping the back like it’s a small island in a sea of lava. She’s so determined to stay in that chair, she’s even wet herself right there.
So I sit on the floor, in the lava, and call out to her, hold out my arms. She knows that’s her invitation to sit in my lap and get an Eskimo kiss. Sometimes in a whole day that’s our way, our only way of really connecting. But I could sit there, calling all night and it wouldn’t matter. What I need is… cheese! So I get shredded cheese and go back to sitting on the molten floor. She tentatively dares to step out and then jumps back in the chair. This goes on for a long, long time. On a good night, eventually she makes it to my lap. After more time I’m able to stand her up and carefully guide her to out of the kitchen. At this point she usually breaks away and runs right back to the chair. And the process starts all over again. But some nights I can get her to the stairs on the first round. Then she flops at the foot of the stairs… because going up the stairs is just another transition we have to work through.
Transitions outside of home are trickier. Honestly, I’ve been tempted to avoid public outings with her altogether, because sometimes it’s just that hard.
Yesterday I transitioned from one old age to an older old age, and my twin and I went out (with the kids and her husband) for a birthday dinner.
Just getting Rhema from the car to the restaurant door was a challenge. And then getting seated was a struggle because we had to wait, and Rhema and I ended up hiding in the restroom until the table was ready. And then leaving the bathroom and getting her to our table was also a battle. I don’t always know how much she understands; when I try to talk to her and explain what’s happening, she’s so frantic she doesn’t seem to understand at all.
Once we made it to the table, Rhema did great and enjoyed her dinner. I was already praying about our exit.
It did not go well. It involved my eight year old refusing to come out of the booth. It involved her diving under tables – other diner’s tables and holding onto to the legs for dear life. It involved lots of disruption and the stares of everyone in the restaurant.
I dislike that out-of-control feeling. I dislike being watched when I’m feeling that out-of-control feeling. I miss my husband. He is my strength. Even when we don’t know what to do – if he’s there – I know it’s not completely out of control.
Eventually, my brother-in-law had to grab a fighting Rhema into his arms – it took all his muscle – and carry her out.
By the time we got home I’d given myself a pass to be all depressed and discouraged. I was ready to hash out every unfair thing that ever happened to me. And detail all the times I’ve had a good attitude and been patient and self-sacrificing. I wanted wave my hand at heaven and stage a protest: But enough is enough! Can’t a girl get a birthday dinner in peace? Why, why does it have to be so hard?
It’s been there all along, just beneath the surface – this prideful sense that I, for some reason, deserve better.
“I know sometimes what messes our life up most — is the expectation of what our life is supposed to look like. Entitlement can leave you feeling entirely empty.“- Ann Voskamp
My twin, who could do plenty of fist-shaking at the heavens, simply said to me,
“Don’t let a little trouble steal your joy. God has blessed you.”
I looked and all around me all my days God has opened the floodgates of heaven and rained down blessings. Not a single one earned or deserved, yet lavishly given. Never once – not when Rhema was diagnosed with autism, not when my twin was diagnosed with MS – never has there been a lapse in His goodness. Thank you, Lord.
In every transition, smooth or difficult, I want to thank God through it, praying “Give me a calm, a thankful heart. From ever murmur free. The blessings of thy grace depart. And let me live to thee.”