Thursday, March 01, 2012

{some of} what i never saw coming

as i shared in the previous post, this is something new.
i'm sharing as i journey to encourage myself and hopefully others.
***

this week began with something very new, and even fun. so far.

elijah had his first day at preschool on monday!
this is him, watching a quick bit of peter pan, before we bundled up and headed out:


he carried his gator and two swords to the car with him, as always.
patrick drove us, i sat in the back seat and annoyed the heck out of him as we went through town.


maybe i'm not so annoying after all


as much as i hated even thinking about taking a pcture of myself, i tried to get a photo of us.


obviously i was being annoying again.

the fact is. the entire thing is annoying.
maybe uncomfortable is what i mean.

elijah is attending a special preschool.
a special needs preschool.

i've always known what "special needs" means.
now i really know its meaning. 

sometime last summer, it dawned on me.
my adorable, wild and quirky boy...may be more than wild and quirky.
it's like bits and pieces from every moment up to then were whirling around in front of me.
they were noisy, telling me to "listen up! look here!"
the whirling pieces slowed down a bit, and joined together making a whole.
a whole lot of questions.
what i saw was clearly more than just an odd tendency, or lack of skill.

zero response to discipline
completely unaware of danger
crashing into cushions, people or floors
lining things up
unable to leave the house without his things(gator, swords etc.)
almost zero eye contact
and what happened to his speech?

elijah began with several words at around ten months.
where are they now? is it true?

has he only called me "mama" once since he was one year old?

where are the animal sounds when we look at books?
why does he seem to not even see me next to him?
why doesn't he ever ask me for help?

i wanted answers.
and wanting them did not in any way prepare me for getting them.

it was late last year, in november, when we first heard it.
autism spectrum disorder.

i remember sitting in the pediatrician's office alone.
patrick had taken elijah out to the car as i waited for the doctor to return with some paperwork.
i sat in that plastic chair and stared at the wall. it became so blurry through my tears.
what does it even mean. to be "on the autism spectrum"?
the doctor came in, handed me who knows what and yammered on about setting up more appointments.

those additional appointments were scheduled. we saw a slew of professionals and filled out test after test and form after form. evaluations, meetings, questions, a few answers. therapies began. co-pays added up.

elijah was officially diagnosed with autism in january.
we've averaged a doctor visit a week in addition to four therapy appointments. every week.
two speech therapy, and two occupational therapy visits.

and now. by the incredible providence of god, elijah attends preschool four weekday mornings.
this school is something incredible. he receives specialized, intensive care alongside a few classmates.
each day includes speech therapy, too. we've high hopes for some language and communication progress with speech at school and at the pediatric therapy facility.

i will write more about all of this. i've wanted to for months.
i'll write because i will need to. 

today, i am writing to remember this:


elijah made it through his first day in the preschool special needs program!
he didn't even look back when we dropped him off at class.
this week is dinosaur week. everything has a dino theme, i guess.
from teacher's notes, elijah is doing great! (and he loves dinosaurs!)

he laughs and smiles when we pick him up from school.
he babbles on and on. i think he's telling me about his day.
i cannot tell you how much that means to me. what a huge deal it is.

one miracle here is, the lord went before us.
from sitting alone in that pediatric office, making those appointment for more doctors.
we didn't even pray yet for knowledgeable, compassionate and sweet people.
but god gave us that.
the psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers, the pediatric therapy counselor,
speech therapist, occupational therapist, school teachers, even a few sweet fellow autism mamas...
every single person? awesome and more than we even knew to ask the lord for.
truly, he knows what we need, before we even think it!

elijah is special.
and now we are learning just how crazy special he really is.
developmentally, he is at the 12-16 month old range.
he turned three just after christmas.

most days are extremely difficult. and i have no idea what i'm doing.
great news is, jesus knows. and i am choosing to trust his lead.
i'm looking forward to sharing many victories.
they'll likely be peppered with pain, back-pedals, fear and exhaustion.
please pray with us?
that we would choose joy.
that we would walk in the spirit and hope in god.
that we would not be discouraged, but be encouraged and lifted up!
{thank you xo}

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
it is high; I cannot attain it.
psalm 139:1-6

49 comments:

  1. You are all in my prayers and what a sweet boy enjoying his time at preschool. I am sure that time will be so good for both of you!!

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  2. God bless y'all. You are braver than I know how to be at this point. God sure knew what He was doing choosing Elijah for you. I can't think of any more amazing parents than you and Patrick!

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  3. hannah i am praying for you and your family, and i am crying because God is so Good in giving us exactly what we need. special schools is where it's at. the knowledge they have to help is overwhelming. my nephew and my best girlfriends son (they both have autism) attended a special school for preschool and eventually were mainstreamed. both of the boys had no speech or social skills when they started and now they are blabbering social butterflies. they melt me. even if my nephew tells me how ugly my shirt. his honesty is what we love the most about him.
    my heart is with you dear hannah.
    thanks for sharing your heart today.
    i love you.

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    1. This is such an awesome and encouraging reply - nice job Kelly! I like you and I don't even know you!

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  4. hannah i love you. and your family. if that is even possible! but with God anything is possible, RIGHT!

    i have been praying for you - and i KNOW that the Lord is doing a major work in and through your family.
    i LOVE knowing that HE picked you and patrick for Elijah (praise Him!). he has entrusted you with him. i love seeing that.

    a little scripture to encourage you (from today's bible reading I'm doing) - prayed it over some good friends last night, praying it over you today!!!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE you Hannah!

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

    (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV)

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  5. this little birdie knew all along! I have been praying you up down and all around. This used to be my grown up life. He will do great. He will BE great! SO lucky yo have YOU for his sweet Mama!

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  6. oh my heart is squeezing for you!! praying for you...your story is absolutely incredibly, from the desire to be a mom and all you went through, now not just a mom, but a mom of a precious little boy who needs something so special from you. you are brave, strong and loving, and God surely walks before you and with you, every step of the way.

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  7. You know it so well - God is in control of Elijah's life. I love your testimony of how He is going before you in this.

    Elijah telling you about his day is so sweet.

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  8. So glad that you have been surrounded by great help. Growing up, my mom had a CD that she listened to often and I only remember the words to one song, "His strength is perfect, when our strength is gone. He carries us, when we can't carry on. Raised in his power, the weak become strong."

    It's so funny, but I find myself singing that over and over again throughout the tough days moments of motherhood.

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  9. the way God hems us in is one of the best word pictures in His word. you and yours are in God's pocket. blessings and peace for the road that lays ahead.

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  10. Hannah! You wrote this beautifully!! I'm praying for you today - what a special ministry God has give you - to be Elijah's mommy!

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  11. thank you for your honesty hannah. i'll be praying with you.
    love you lots!

    (ps.. i tagged you!)
    http://twodowningsaday.blogspot.com/2012/03/11-things.html

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  12. oh girl. i can't imagine how hard this must be on you and patrick and elijah. but you are so right, Jesus knows what you need and how to care for you. it thrills my heart to know your boy is receiving the special care he needs. so thankful the Lord is making a way for elijah to grow in the midst of adversity. praying for you, my dear. really. xoxo.

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  13. The knowing is hard. The knowing requires actions. Sometimes it's easier to suspect than be responsible for the confirmation. Elijah is one very blessed little boy to have you & Patrick fighting for him, making sure he gets exactly what he needs. God is good and with you every single step of the way.

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  14. hannah, you really did communicate this beautifully, with grace and hope.

    i am grateful that God has already shown you that He is before you, along side you, and behind you in the details of elijah's life. may He continue to lead you in peace, confidence in Him, and cause you to continue to delight in elijah, as God shapes and molds all of you for His glory.

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  15. First of all that pic of him heading out the door with his "gear" oh my word, so so adorable. And secondly I am so so relieved and glad he did so so well Hannah!!! Third of all, you are a good, proud, patient, caring, loving momma. My best friends son has autism, so i see what struggles it can bring to her and her entire family/friends. So I send you my love in God's grace for your son and your struggles. But you are so wise, you see the beauty in ALL things. The reason we all love you. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. oh friend, i miss you. and love you. and am right there with you. we pray not for an easy life, but an equipped one. God HAS gone before you. and He knew before the formation of the world that you would be capable of meeting Elijah's needs. WITH His help. xxoo

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  17. thank you for these two posts my friend. thank you for sharing with us so that we might lift you up. i can imagine that most days ARE extremely difficult, emotionally and logistically. i am so happy to hear that his first day of preschool went well. we will be grieving with you in the hard times and rejoicing with you at each milestone.

    thank you for your ministry to us, reminding us that God is constantly working, going before us, ironing out every single tiny detail, before we even know we should ask for it. thank you for testifying! that is exactly our God. gently and meticulously preparing the way He has mapped out for us. faithful through all circumstances. even when they seem too much to bear, He proves Himself faithful and present and mighty and enough [more than enough]. when it comes down to it, He is all we have and everything we ever needed.

    you, Hannah, are loved. by us and by Jesus and by your sweet precious Elijah. praying that you can really feel it today (and everyday) and bask in it for awhile.

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  18. friend- I cannot imagine. You such a brave momma & I want you to know that I am and will be praying for you & your beautiful family.

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  19. I'm SO happy to hear that Elijah is having a great first week! You are such an incredible momma. I pray strength and peace over you and your family! Thank you for writing with such honesty. So many of us can relate to where you are right now. Love you bunches. Skype soon!!!

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  20. I've never commented before, but just wanted to encourage you today as you begin this road I too am traveling. I remember the night before our big appointment to get the results of our son's testing (he was 7 at the time) and being so afraid not only of his diagnosis of ASD (actually PDD-NOS) but that the diagnosis meant I had a different child somehow. I really felt like I was losing my boy, and was so heartbroken. Looking back now 5 years down the road, I couldn't have been more wrong. The label doesn't change a thing, our kids are still the same wonderful, sweet boys they have always been.
    My boy is 11 now. I can hardly believe it. And he is still wonderful. Yes there are challenges along the way but there is also a lot of beauty on this path. You'll see it, too, as you've trained yourself to find it all around you. I'm certain your sweet Elijah will be more than great and will continue to be one of God's greatest gifts to you.
    Much Love,
    Jen W

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  21. Hannah~ What a blessing you are to share your heart with us.You are so brave to do this. As my own sweet boy has been seeing professionals,being evaluated etc..I have kept it to myself and not shared it on my blog.I don't know why I fear to lay it all out.
    You have a good heart.You have prayer warriors who read your blog.YOU and your little cutie and your man have JESUS.
    I know God will triumph in this.You will see.

    Love you!!

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  22. This is such an amazing, beautiful post. I don't really have any words, except to tell you that you will most definitely be in my thoughts and prayers... along with your family. May you be uplifted during this time, and may you have guidance for the days ahead.

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  23. Your writing--so real, so honest--so beautiful--as are you. Thank you for sharing this experience and as always, prayers for your family--as you prayed with me and over me when I needed them. I can only offer the same.

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  24. I have to come back and read this again. While I don't know the autism experience you are dealing with, we are fully immersed in the special needs world - almost 6 years now. This post could bring me to tears....I admit I read but read over quickly to avoid tears. I promise I will come back. You have a very special boy and I can totally relate to all those appointments, special education, etc. Thank you for sharing. Love your heart!!

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  25. What a wonderful mother this boy has been given. He is so precious.

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  26. I love you. So glad you were "released" to share this...praying the body of Christ will overwhelm you with encuoragment.

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  27. He is so cute! I think anyone would be lucky to have you as a Mom, so loving and faithful!! Jesus will give you strength in the tough times, he always does when we come to him. God made us all just how he wanted to and I'm happy for that! :) Praying for you and your family. xo

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  28. you are on my list of astounding women i wish to be like. for real.
    i love your tenderness, vulnerability, and faith. your trust in the lord is a HUGE testimony and you are moving some big mountains. don't ever forget that. praying for you major. loves.

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  29. Oh Hannah - I love you so much. In you guys' arms is exactly where God wanted Elijah to be - that is so clear. I love that picture of him, and thanks for being brave enough to type this out - I know it was probably like a huge monumental wall to force yourself to cross. So glad he has an awesome team helping him, and such a great school experience - yesss!!!

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  30. I could have written this post...almost exactly. My oldest son is on the spectrum and started a special needs preschool shortly after turning three. He is five now and has made HUGE strides. Early intervention is KEY! Elijah is blessed to have you and Patrick as his biggest cheerleaders. I will keep your family in my prayers as you navigate the murky waters of autism. Also, if you ever want to chat feel free to email me at toddandcharla@yahoo.com

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  31. And just think...our loving Father chose YOU to be Elijah's mommy. He knew that Elijah would need you.
    Hugs to you, dear Hannah...and prayers for joy in the journey...

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  32. Hannah,
    Such a beautiful and brave post. I love that last pic of your sweet boy with his Daddy.
    Katie

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  33. Wow! I don't even check my blogs every day but decided to update my Nan's Nappies blog tonight. After I read the first couple of sentences of your blog I paused the TV to give it my full attention. I knew that Elijah was a handful for you but I can't imagine him having any different parents than you and Patrick. I am so glad you have gotten him in what sounds like an awesome school. Not only will Elijah make great strides with them but you will have such a great support system. God obviously knew what he was doing...duh!...when he moved you to a place that has such a great school for Elijah. Love you lots and will have you in my prayers.

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  34. Hannah, sweet Hannah, loved by so many Hannah, gift to so many Hannah, you have a great challenge set before you.
    But our God will see you through.
    I am sure there will be many times you will ask why and tell Him that you did not ask for this.
    'He knows.
    And even though He created us to be free from sadness and hurt, He didn't leave us when that's what we chose.
    He is the Redeemer.
    He has redeemed ou.
    He has redeemed Eliijah.
    And He will redeem this.
    Probably not in the ways you think.
    But probably in ways you can't imagine.
    And /i offer you this,my sister in Christ, in my times of deepest sorrow, He was there.
    And so He will be for yu.
    God blees.
    Love from,
    Greta

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  35. Yes, Elijah is special. And God, in His perfect will picked 2 special, amazing parents for him. You must have so many thoughts and feelings, ups and downs. I pray that God will meet you every day and equip you and bless you with His abundant wisdom as you embark on this journey, loving your boy. Love you, friend.

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  36. Oh how I've been waiting for you to share this... not because I think it's everyone's business but because I know your heart. And I know how encouraged you will be by the other parents living the same thing. AND I know how encouraging you'll be to them. I've told you before, and I'll say it again, I immediately adored Elijah. I just love that little guy and look forward to hearing about all of his amazing journeys.

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  37. Hannah girl. I read this post yesterday from my phone...but you know how I am about commenting from my phone. We don't work. Anyway, I really want you to know that I'm proud of your boldness, your confidence, and your honesty. Your raw and vulnerable heart is much to be admired. I love you!!

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  38. Wow! THANK YOU! for your courage in Christ to share something personel! Will be praying for you Hannah & your beautiful wonderfully made Elijah. The Lord does not make mistakes. God Bless you for being the light in a dark world.

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  39. with tears in my eyes, i pray for you. hope in God, sweet bloggy friend, i'm so glad you've got it right, hope in God. i admire you for your trusting, tho hurting, heart. {hugs!}
    <3 <3 <3

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  40. i'm at work. my brain is fried & i don't know what to say except....i read, i care & i prayed god give you enough strength for today & when tomorrow comes enough for then too. love your big beautiful heart.

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  41. Hannah you are an awesome mighty woman of God and I think the world of you. Praying for you, Patrick, and precious Elijah. You are equipped...Praying that you feel and know that more now than ever. So glad his first day at school was so great. As I read I kept hearing promise and know there's so much more promise to come. Believing it all with you. Xoxo

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  42. oh friend. you are amazing, faithful, and wise. your wisdom is grounded in trust in god so He will lead you and bless you through this journey. your boy is wonderful, sweet, and beautiful. i will keep your family in our prayers.

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  43. Hannah, thank you for showing such transparency and sharing such a deeply personal subject. I'll definitely be praying for you and Patrick and Elijah as your family embraces the future. You are a beautiful woman of God and I am so encouraged by how you've given Him the glory through all of this.

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  44. friend, how did i miss this? i'm sorry i did.

    what a story God is writing through you and your family. thank you for being so open with it here.

    The Lord is your shield, sweet friend, and i'm praying that he keeps in so much joy you might explode-even in the midst of this hard and new journey.

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  45. (I wipe away my tears) - such a difficult time, such hard words to hear, such a brave post. You are pretty dang fabulous Hannah. I will keep you and your beautiful family in my prayers. xoxo

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  46. dear friends!
    i have read and read again these throughtful, beautiful words of encouragement. soon i hope to have time to respond properly.
    just needed to say a quick THANK YOU!
    you've each comforted me tremendously, and i am grateful to god for YOU.
    xo

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  47. Oh Hannah! I am speechless. You are so brave and so full of God- you are showing me the fruits of the spirit in action. God may have chosen Elijah for you & Patrick, but He chose you both for Elijah. Wow. Your honesty, bravery, commitment, love and courage inspire me.
    You ate in my prayers and in my heart sweet friend.
    xoxo
    Andee

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