Patience

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William was rather late to lunch. His father and mother and elder brother and sister were just beginning the meal. He slipped quietly and unostentatiously into his seat…¬†

“William,” said Mrs Brown, “I do wish you’d be in time, and I do wish you’d brush your hair before you come to table.”

William raised a hand to perform the operation, but catching sight of its colour, hastily lowered it.

“No, Ethel dear, I didn’t know anyone had taken Lavender Cottage. An artist? How nice! William dear, do sit still. Have they moved in yet?”

“Yes,” said Ethel, “they’ve taken it furnished for two months, I think. Oh, my goodness, just look at William’s hands!”

William put his hands under the table and glared at her.

“Go and wash your hands, dear,” said Mrs. Brown patiently.

For eleven years she had filled the trying position of William’s mother. It had taught her patience.

from Just William by Richmal Crompton

After a particularly taxing day yesterday, I just had to share with you the one thing that, on hearing it this morning (read by the inimitable Martin Jarvis), made me nearly snort out my morning cuppa. Seeing the funny side somehow makes things better, even if it doesn’t resolve them. Thank God for humour ūüėČ

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Image from wikipedia ‘simple balloon’

 

My lovely boy has begun being more helpful around the home. When I praised him for it he replied, “I’m 17 now, Mummy, so I don’t find it as hard to be grown up as I did when I was younger.” Prince said this while clearing off the table ready for tea, having unloaded the dishwasher without even being asked and having picked up some litter off the floor which our naughty¬†delightful Chip had casually discarded (she’s a s*d for doing that). Meanwhile, I felt like crying, because this boy, this young man, has been the subject of many a prayer, especially for his future. His anxiety, as well as the time it takes for him to process a situation, had led us to wonder if he will ever live independently, let alone support himself. Now we have a smidgen of hope. We’ll see.

It’s strange how that happens sometimes with autism. A child shows no sign of doing something that you would expect of a non-autistic child and then, all of a sudden, they can do it, as if by magic! Even if they’re several years beyond the age that their non-autistic peers did the same thing. For example, until he was five Prince had almost no voluntary speech; he just repeated what was said to him, very precisely, and often completely out of context. This is known as ‘echolalia’. All of a sudden, virtually overnight, he began speaking in proper, original sentences. The same happened with toilet training, wetting the bed, tying a knot and all sorts of other things over the years. We would try to explain, in very simple language, what behaviour was expected. We would carefully demonstrate, over and over. Prince seemed to understand (or not – he can have a noticeably blank expression), but would carry on regardless. Then one day he just did the thing correctly and that skill remained part of his repertoire.

Miracles can happen. Just love a child with autism. You’ll likely be tearing your hair out in frustration many times over the years, and one day something happens, like fitting a jigsaw piece into place. One day he realises that this particular jigsaw piece has been upside down the whole time, so he just flips it round and pushes it into place, and you feel the same awe as if he performed a miracle right in front of you.

How much more worthwhile is the celebration, the joy, in finding the one little lost sheep when you know the other 99 are safe in the fold?

“…what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.”

Luke 15:8-9 (NRSVA)

Treasure in jars of clay, indeed!

Stoopid is Stoopid Does

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Image courtesy of idpinthat.com

I hate this illness. First I miss years of school because of it and now as I begin studying (again) at the age of 39, I find it’s taken me about five goes to get right something I would otherwise think of as basic algebra. Every time I am making really, really stupid mistakes, basic mistakes like copying the wrong number into an equation. Repeatedly. I could cry. But I guess a better thing to do would be to get a good night’s sleep and try again tomorrow. Patience is indeed a virtue.

 

Just Ask

Ask and it will be given to you…

Matthew 7:7

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Don’t stop. Don’t give up. God never withholds. This is the God of abundant grace. If I’m asking for what He’s in the business of giving, I’ll get it. And then some.

So today I’m asking for the strength and patience to get a certain young man to school and for the endurance to do what needs to be done, because I am fatigued.

 

 

Great is His Mercy

Each day is full of His mercies, let’s not waste any of them by beating ourselves up.

~ from Having a Martha Home the Mary Way by Sarah Mae

Now there’s a proverbial kick up the backside for those of us who are recovering from co-dependency (you’re welcome)!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,

His mercies never end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NRSVA)

Ninja Mum

They say bad things come in threes. I guess they can’t count. As well as poor old Prince’s ongoing health problems, we’ve had an outbreak of the dreaded lurgy. First little Chip was throwing up all over the place, now Frank. I’m surprised I have any skin left on my hands what with the amount of washing they have undergone. I usually make my own cleaning products, but I don’t faff about when it comes to sickness. I am armed to the teeth with my trusty bleach and hygienically-cleaned rags to tackle every germ before it can even think about infecting anyone else. I am the Germinator Terminator. Nothing can get past me MWAHAHAHAHA!

 

 

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Just try it, sunshine.

Reblog: Never Sent Away

I wish I had recalled this truth before I snapped at two of my children this morning. I did recognise that it was a sign that I needed to actively focus on Him, because I know that when I do focus just on Him I have plenty of patience. I said sorry to my children and they both responded very sweetly, showing that God is and has been working for good in all things because my children have learned how to be gracious! I am not thankful for my own wilfulness but I was so glad to see God in Prince and Chip. He is generous beyond measure!

Contemplative in the Mud

If you become accustomed to having Him at your side and if He sees that you love to have Him there and are always trying to please Him, you will never be able to, so to speak, send Him away.
Saint Teresa of Jesus

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As the Scripture Says…

It’s been a looonnnng day. My sister arrives tomorrow so I have spent most of the day getting things ready – maybe doing more than I should have, health-wise, but who doesn’t when they have guests coming?

I have introduced a weekly ‘bible memory verse’. Fluff, having returned from her gymnastics squad session, was attempting to recite the following, with varying (and slightly hilarious) results:

‘As the scripture says: “All human beings are like grass, and all their glory is like wildflowers. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” This word is the Good News that was proclaimed to you.’

1 Peter: 24 & 25 (GNB)

At the same time, Prince – being his usual delightful self – loudly demanded to know why a certain clock can’t go in the dining room instead of the kitchen. No, I said calmly; it’s a kitchen clock. After repeating the same conversation 20 times Prince responded with a very rude statement about it being his house and that he wants the clock in the dining room. I sometimes wonder how he makes so many mountains where the rest of us don’t even notice molehills. I told him the (evidently shocking) news that 14-year-olds don’t get to decide where things go because it’s not their house.

“Except for maybe in their bedrooms.” Fluff piped up, helpfully.

“Except for your bedrooms.” I agreed.

“Well, maybe I’ll stay in my room all the time!” said Prince with disdain.

“Well bugger off and stay there, then.” I said, finally losing the remaining, rather thin, veneer of patience.

So much for turning the other cheek… o_O

But really I do sometimes think this lad would try the patience of all the saints put together.

Dear God, thank you for the blessing of children, especially special children who are without guile… Please give us mums and dads the patience which will have otherwise worn rather thin by the end of the day.

Amen

Life Goes On

I am struggling a little today. I have been trying to study but my brain keeps going foggy (I’ve started a Statistics course with half the points of my previous course – I’m hoping I’ll be able to cope better with the workload). This morning we were woken around 4am by a series of beeps. Then sometime later another series of beeps. And another, and another. I groaned and pulled the pillow over my head.

In the morning, as Prince is about to leave for school, Frank says, in his patient, gentle way, “Can you please make sure you turn off whatever was beeping last night? Mummy and Daddy don’t want to be woken up at 4 o’clock, thank you.”

Prince stares, in his detached way. “It was my alarm.”

“Yes,” says Frank, “but why was it going off at 4 o’clock in the morning?”

“So that it would wake me up.”

Ask an autistic child a direct question and you’ll get a direct answer…

Frank knows this, so he says, “Yes, but why did you set it for 4 o’clock in the morning?”

“I wanted to get up and be ready for school.” Prince is so s…l…o…w in the mornings. He is always running late, no matter what we do. We are used to it.

“But you got up at ten to eight!”

“I went back to sleep, Daddy!” He sounds pained.

Frank sighs. Prince just looks blank.

I say, “Well done for being up in time for school. Please make sure the alarm doesn’t go off before 7 o’clock. You woke me up.”

Unfortunately, although I can appeal to Prince over waking me up (I am his current favourite, second only to Glorious Grandmother), he wouldn’t bat an eyelid if I accused him of waking anyone else up.

Then comes a knock at the door. “Taxi’s here, Prince!” Chip yells. “And you woke me up last night too! I’m tired now!”

Chip’s life could be written as a series of exclamation marks. She always manages to run into school all higgledy-piggledy. This morning, with toothpaste on her cardigan, her coat hanging off her arm and her specs askew, she looks like she got dressed in a jumble sale in the middle of a hurricane. Just as well she’s charming with it. I don’t know how she manages to charm every single person she meets, but she does.

Prince ignores her and continues calmly, yet deliberately, eating his toast.

“Prince,” I say, the same as I say every morning, “the taxi is here.”

“It’s early. It’s only 8.13.”

I cannot argue this; the kitchen clock does indeed say 08.13. At 08.15 Prince promptly stands up and strides to the front door.

Now it’s time to go.”

I follow, to make sure the door is unlocked. There’s no point trying to reason with him. That only slows him down more.

As he pulls the door behind him Prince calls, “See, Mummy, I’m not banging the door because I’m not cross!”

Hmm… I find myself humming ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ and decide to write a blog post.