Thursday, July 3, 2008

Family Reunion

Parker is 10 years old and each day gets harder. He has Autism. As I type the word it brings so much confusion and frustration. It frustrates me that this label I must use for my child is so common and confuses me that his personal experience of the disability seems so rare. I have to admit at times I tell people he suffered brain damage to avoid hearing "I know someone or I read". He is my personal cross that has brought me to my knees wondering if I could go on. He is my light that has brought me closer to my savior and kept me from straying to far. Everyday I strive to find the middle of both extremes so that I may have the strength to endure to the end.

I think it is part of human nature to want to belong or be a part of something. Parker can't talk so I have no way of knowing if this is true for him. Life is a guessing game when it comes to helping Parker belong. Last weekend was the Beckstead Family Reunion and I guessed wrong. How can you guess wrong on a family reunion at a lake with jet skis, a boat, pool, and lots of fast food? Forget all the fancy stuff. How can you guess wrong on a FAMILY reunion period. I have come to terms with it being too difficult for Parker to attend church, his brothers sporting games, outings with family friends. I have obviously not come to terms with it being too difficult for me. The mess, the looks, the fear of him kicking, pushing or breaking something. Worst of all is thinking that everyone is looking at your child feeling glad that he is not theirs. Watching children move away because they are nervous of his sudden movements and abnormal behaviors. With my personal cross too heavy to bear Parker and I returned home not making it to the second Family reunion. Leaving my husband and two boys behind I was faced with another event that would have to be done without Parker.

We have been home a day and all ready I can feel myself in search of the light or strength that only comes from my Heavenly Father. No one reminds me of that better than Parker. I like to think I can handle my cross on my own. No time for prayer when I'm busy figuring out what Parker wants and I want. I want my child to be happy. I want others to love my child like I love my child. I want my child to be able to tell me he loves me. I see the world shrinking as Parker continues to get bigger but cognitively remains the same. I wonder if he cares. I wonder what he needs. Now that my temper tantrum is over I'm trying to understand what my Heavenly Father wants not just for me but for Parker. I'm learning to turn my cross over to the savior and have faith that he will cover the areas I fall short. I spent the evening reading the ensign. I went to the temple. I prayed. Parker still spilled milk, used my stairs for the potty, and dropped food all over the house. Why make the effort if his disability remains the same. I make the effort because I believe in eternal life and I know that this is one family reunion Parker will never have to miss.