One day last week, we went to O.T. again and it started out well, but less than halfway into it, it became too much. Chase retreated and when the therapist pulled him to face the situation, of course, the meltdown began. We spent a good 40 minutes trying to "teach" Chase how to handle it, to no avail.
I was already exhausted. We were at the end of a very sleepless week, plus I had just spent 2 days keeping up with the youth at youth conference. Not to mention the extra housework I did before and after my trip. I was silently praying, BEGGING Heavenly Father to PLEASE not let this meltdown continue. I just did not have the energy. My resources were tapped and I was utterly spent.
At the end, Brian (the occupational therapist) carried Chase to the car, with Chase still crying and screaming, resisting every command.
Looking at the therapist I was thinking the whole time,
"If you are going to push him to this point, then you better get in the car and go home with us! I do not have the strength to do this tonight. You started it, you better finish it!"
He must have seen the tears filling my pleading eyes. He just said, "Call me when you get home."
Before I could pull out of the parking lot, I was in full body sobs. It just felt so unfair. I sobbed and prayed, begging Heavenly Father to help me know what to do to get through the day. I knew I couldn't do it alone. My heart breaks to see my sweet, happy Chase so unhappy, and by this point in time, I was feeling sorry for myself too. Why did this happen on the day I was probably least prepared to handle it? I was just too tired and there would be no rest for the weary. So, I just cried. A lot. Pretty soon, an idea came to me. I pulled up to a book store, dried my swollen eyes and told Chase to come with me. He looked at me questionably. I took him to the kid section and we looked at all the fun games and books. When he lit up over a cool dinosaur magnet board, I said, "Let's get it."
In our family, gifts are rarely bought except a birthday or holiday- and especially in Chase's situation, earning one through a reward system. So, Chase was surprised and pretty excited.
As we were walking out, he asked me how come he got to get it. I know he had figured out that he hadn't quite earned this opportunity.
I told him, "Sometimes you don't have to earn a gift. Sometimes you get one just because I love you."
It was so warming to see that big smile again.
I broke all the good mother rules, and it felt like the best thing I had ever done.
He never cried again the whole night. Many people would say that I was rewarding bad behavior. But I know that Chase is not trying to act that way. He just doesn't understand yet what TO DO. And I wanted him to know I love him and care about his happiness above all.
Because the thing is... I really do get it, how Chase feels sometimes. This trial often also leads me to tears, fears, and frustrations. I know as hard as I try, there are moments when I just break down. I am walking this path with faith, but it isn't perfect faith. I have many worries that some days completely overwhelm me . Sometimes I sob inconsolably too. And just like Chase, I too, need a parent who will bless me despite these weaknesses. That's when I need to feel loved more than ever, just so I can keep going.
So, all this week, I've been praying, asking God to bless me and my family and we navigate our way through sensory processing disorder (or whatever this is). I know He loves us and there are gifts in store, even when we cry our way through these trials.
Then yesterday I read this passage from conference. Jeffrey R Holland was speaking of the Savior's parable of the laborers in the vineyard. I was so encouraged by this segment,
"This parable—like all parables—is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats. This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it."