I am Mom to six wonderful creations of Christ. Individually and as a group, they are funny, active, sensitive, creative, and often, a riot to live with.
They’re also a lot of hard work.
Our second son, Ben, arrived with numerous special needs, which really messed up my plans for parenthood. I had it all planned out in my mind and having a child that developed at an excruciatingly slow pace and exhibited really strange behaviors did not fit my vision of motherhood.
I never planned on having a newborn I had to feed through his nose.
I never planned on having a toddler whom I had to wrap nearly head to toe in gauze because his skin was so fragile and infected by severe eczema.
I never planned to have a kindergartener who wasn’t potty trained and licked anything he could get his tongue on…church pews…the floor…the soles of his shoes…
I never planned to have a grade schooler who was unable to understand and empathize with his siblings’ hurts, who thought nothing of hurling a shoe or book at one and then seemed baffled when he would get in trouble.
I never planned on spending hours in therapists’ offices and putting thousands of miles on my mini-van as I searched for the right combination of professionals who could help my child.
I never planned on having a junior higher who would argue incessantly with anyone, just for fun, and would hurl chairs across the room when angered.
I never planned on medicating any of my children.
As a dedicated homeschooling mom, I never planned on sending any of my children to school – yet I enrolled Ben at our local public school in the seventh grade.
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my way your ways, says the Lord.
My plan was not God’s plan and as always, God’s plan was so much more superior to mine.
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I didn’t realize that so many of the disturbing behaviors I saw in Ben’s younger years had to do with normal immaturity. Because he was in possession of several labels, I assumed that every alarming thing he did was a manifestation of what was wrong with him. After all, he was sandwiched by two brothers who certainly didn’t give me any problems.
And so I panicked. I came down hard on him, attempting to force him into what I viewed as normal behavior. I worried non-stop about the future. I allowed myself to consider the idea that maybe Ben would have to be institutionalized – which broke my heart.
It never once occurred to me that maybe Ben just needed to grow up. And my job, as his mother, was to give him the grace to do that.
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Ben is almost nineteen years old today. He’s a deep thinker, he’s quiet, and he’s affectionate. He holds my hand when we walk through a busy parking lot and he hugs me every night before he goes to bed. He has a hook in his room full of Special Olympics medals that he has earned.
Ben is in his senior year of high school at the same public school where I nervously enrolled him as a thirteen year old. He is loved by the staff and students alike. When our family attends football games, we can’t make it to the stands without a half a dozen classmates hollering out, “Hi Ben!” and giving him a high five. This fall he was elected to the student council even though he still can’t tie his shoes or read beyond a fifth grade level.
Ben is eagerly planning his future and for once, I’m stepping back and letting him dream. Who’s to say he can’t work full-time someday, live somewhat independently, and create a life that I no longer orchestrate?
From the time the foundations of the world were set, God had a plan for this boy and He had a plan for his mama, too. He knew this plan would rock that mother’s world, but He knew that world needed some serious rocking.
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Ben has grown up.
And so has his mama.
About the Author: Sarah Heywood is a widowed Midwestern mom to a lively half dozen children. She enjoys reading, chocolate, and blogging. Occasionally she cranks out articles for different publications and she recently has begun her first book (but she’s only on Chapter 2, so don’t look for it anytime soon). But most of her time is spent cooking, doing laundry, and settling squabbles between her kids. You can follow the minutia of her daily life at Mothering Men (to be), Marriage, and Miscellany.
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