Last week will be one of those weeks that I will remember forever. I can't wait to tell you why!
Sunday - This was an extremely hard day for Ethan. It seems to me that as Ethan gets older, the less often his meltdowns occur. However, when they happen, they are longer & harder. This last Sunday, Ethan had 3 meltdowns....one lasting 40 minutes. And once a meltdown begins, there is nothing to do but let it happen & keep him safe. It is so hard for us a parents to hear him crying, screaming, banging his body, hitting himself, and so on....and there is literally not a thing we can do until it's over. If we try, it usually makes things worse...it's similar to a seizure. It was a very difficult day.
The thing was that Ethan had signed up to participate in our church's Talented Treasures...an evening service dedicated to showcasing our church's children's talents. We were very excited to participate in this event because it was Ethan's first year to be old enough to showcase his talent. And we were SO excited to show him off!!!!! His ability to commit things to memory is outstanding! However, we quickly realized that this would not happen due to the day he was having....and I was very disappointed because he had worked to memorize The 23rd Psalm.
However, I am happy to report that Ethan DID participate!!!! Our children's pastor called me and asked for the link of Ethan reciting Psalm 23. She, along with our church's tech guy, worked it out so Ethan's video was part of the evening's service! I'm so glad that I thought to grab the camera & get that video! And, we are so blessed that our church family is so understanding and supportive! We were able to be a part of something special even though we didn't think it would happen!
A lot of times, I feel that autism has separated us from our church & it's many activities. We are unable to attend many functions due to loud noises, unfamiliar people, long amounts of sitting & being quiet, and that is just the environoment of church. That isn't bringing the factors of Ethan having a "good" or "bad" day. This fact is very difficult for me. I LOVE my church. Corey & I have always been very active & involved in our church. In fact, this is were we met! And knowing that going to church is so difficult for Ethan is just painful to me as his mommy. Church has always been a place of joy, love, and comfort! A place to worship God with other believers and feel His presence. To hear a sermon and be encouraged & uplifted!
But for Ethan, most of the services & activities are painful for him to endure. And that is hard for us to endure. We do our best to stretch Ethan so that one day he will be able to sit in a church service or participate in the church's activities. But, honestly, we miss more church than we would like. We have tried one of us going while the other stays home & switch off services. However, that is difficult on our soul as well. Sitting in church by myself just re-iterates how lonely being a parent of a special needs child can be, and seeing other children in church breaks my heart. I long for the day that we are in church like we once were.
But my church is so awesome & so supportive, and they are always going the extra mile to make sure that church is for EVERYONE. I love that! In fact, we have started a special needs ministry, and have taken steps that will hopefully help church be a warm & comforting place for all. And when our church reached out to us...wanting to include Ethan in the service via video......Corey & I were literally in tears. It brought a truely awful day to a wonderful end. We were so touched by this outreach, and I couldn't wait to tell you about it!!!