Sunday, May 8, 2016

Alex's Mom

Twenty-five years ago, just before Mother’s Day, I found out that I was going to be a mom. All I had ever wanted to be in life was a mom, probably because God had blessed me with such a wonderful mother, and I wanted to be loving and caring, just like her. At the time, I didn’t realize that this baby I was carrying would be my only child, and he would have autism. Truthfully, this was not what I had planned for my life because I had wanted to have more than one child, and I wish more than anything that Alex never had to struggle with autism. Nonetheless, God’s plans are always greater, and I know that He gave me Alex because Alex was exactly the child I needed. On this Mother’s Day when children express their gratitude for all their mothers have done for them, I am thankful for all Alex has done for me.

Before I had Alex, I saw myself as fearful, avoiding difficult situations whenever possible.

Because of Alex, I have had to become bolder, making sure that he gets everything he needs.

Before I had Alex, I had kind and compassionate people in my life.

Because of Alex, I have even more kind and compassionate people in my life whom I never would have met, had Alex not had autism.

Before I had Alex, I thought I was a pretty good judge of character.

Because of Alex, I am able to see the purest hearts: those who see Alex’s goodness, are drawn toward him, and reach out to him in kindness.

Before I had Alex, I enjoyed the peace and solitude of praying alone before I fell asleep every night.

Because of Alex, I know there is nothing better than to listen to the earnest bedtime prayers of a child whose faith and hope in God are complete.

Before I had Alex, I wanted to write about something meaningful.

Because of Alex, I have someone meaningful to write about.

Before I had Alex, I was impatient and disliked having to wait for anything.

Because of Alex, I have learned to be more patient, have tried to look forward with anticipation instead of frustration, and have learned Alex’s motto: “Wait and see.”

Before I had Alex, I loved my husband, Ed.

Because of Alex, our love for each other has grown even stronger as we have shared struggles and triumphs, working together to make the best life possible for our beloved son.

Before I had Alex, I was thankful to have loving and supportive parents as a child.

Because of Alex, I am very grateful to still have my parents close at hand because I have needed their faith, love, and support even more as an adult raising my own child.

Before I had Alex, I had faith in God.

Because of Alex, my faith has been tested mightily, and I trust God more than I ever thought I could.

Before I had Alex, I was happy.

Because of Alex, I know true joy.

Shortly after we found out that Alex had autism, Ed commented that Alex would be a little boy longer because he would need us to do things for him longer than other children, who could be independent sooner. Whenever I am tying his shoes or cutting his meat or zipping his jacket because autism has impaired his fine motor skills and medication makes his hands shaky, I wonder when he will be able to do these tasks by himself. As he towers over me in his tall young man’s body, he grins and cooperates, knowing that as his mom, I will take care of his needs until he can do them on his own. In the meantime, I’m also his personal assistant who coordinates his support team, the home pharmacist who oversees his medications, the trivia buff who plays Jeopardy with him every weekday afternoon, his personal chef who prepares gluten-free and dairy-free food for him, and his laundress who makes sure all his clothes are clean. The other day, he informed me––perhaps because he knew this proclamation would please me––that I was also his best friend. How richly God has blessed me by making me Alex’s mom!

“So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.” Proverbs 23:25


marjorie said...

Happy Mother's Day, Pam! Love and good wishes to your family.

Pam Byrne said...

Dear Marjorie,

So nice to hear from you! Hope that you and your family are doing well and that you had a wonderful Mother's Day!