Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fragile X and Autism Go to Church

It's all about routine.

Don't mess it up.

Don't forget it.

Don't change it.

And do not, I repeat DO NOT do any of that before entering the church building!

Here's how it all went down:

Me: "Marc, it's pretty hot today let's try parking in the shade at the back of the parking lot."

This was a bad idea. A very bad idea.

Sister: "NO!!!! NO!!!!! I hate the shade!!! I like the sun!! This is not the parking lot!!"

Everyone was already getting out of the car, we were a little late and, frankly, I am just tired of Sister always winning.

That was another bad idea.

Never care about who wins, just get used to losing.

Me: "Marc just head in with the other two and I'll get her."

I thought some self-talking or calming techniques would work.

I wish I would have realized the error of my ways before Marc was out of sight and in the church building with the other two kids.

Sister continues to scream, "I hate the shade! I want the sun! I don't like the shade! The shade is stupid!"

She is saying all this while I chase her in zigzags in the parking lot trying to avoid the moving cars, the parked ones and the odd stares of the worried people who thought they were witnessing a kidnapping.

I resort to taking her by the arm and thinking that I would force her to walk in with me even if she was screaming.

However the walking thing was not an option. She hung onto my arm like a monkey baby and I had to buoy up my strength to carry her with one arm across the parking lot to the doors.

I think my "mother adrenaline" kicked in because I wasn't crying, hurting, panting or sweating as I carried my 7-year-old by one arm into the chapel.

I thought for sure if I could get her into the chapel and start her routine again maybe she would be able to forget or forgive that we messed up the parking routine.

I'm sure it was quite a scene as I carried her in and plopped down on the second row that is always saved for us.

I sat relieved that we were in there and all would start well again. I started sweating and breathing heavily now that my adrenaline had subsided and I had to pull out a notebook to fan myself like one of those old Southern ladies and Baptist Church.

Sister was pouting on the floor under the bench in front of us and I was in hopes that she would just stay there and be quiet...


A funny thing sometimes.

Baby joined her under the bench for a few minutes and then after a few minutes of solace two little girls popped out from under the front row bench and decided to plop down in the isle.

I thought they would be fine until Sister started to have a meltdown right there in the front row in the middle of the isle.

I reached up, handing Baby to Marc and grabbed Sister to bring her back out into the hall and she went limp again so I was, again, carrying her with one arm while I opened the door to leave.


We walked around the halls for a few minutes.

We walked outside for a few minutes.

I asked if she was ready to stop whining and sit in church and she whimpered an audible "yes."

We quietly re-entered the chapel and as we sat down, Sister's heart began to race as she firmly informed me, "Mom, where's the bread."

The priesthood was passing the sacrament but were now passing the water, which meant that the bread had already been passed.

I whispered to Sister that we would be able to get the sacrament after the meeting, but, hey, that was NOT the routine... I panicked a little until I saw Marc signaling to the young men at the Sacrament Table that we needed the bread. The sweet young man went over to speak with the Bishop to make sure it was OK and then walked down and passed Sister and I the bread.

Tears started to roll down my face. Partly because I was exhausted physically but I had just been deeply touched spiritually. They made sure to get us the water as it had already passed by our row and Sister seemed to be happy about her routine beginning to resurface.

It was testimony meeting.

As soon as I had the chance to get up I stood and said, "If any of you have seen how church started for me today you would know that I want to shout from the rooftops... shout from the rooftops that this church is true, I know it is or I wouldn't be here." I smiled. I really am thankful for my knowledge of the gospel because there is no way I would put myself through all that if it wasn't true.

After closing my testimony I went and sat down and within 2 minutes I was taking both Sister and Joslin out to play with the nursery toys. Thank goodness for the nursery toys. Saved my life that day.

Another life saver was the dear friend who stepped in to tell me she would stay with the girls while I listened to the rest of the sacrament meeting.

Tender mercies.

Oh, and Sister was happy as a clam once she went to class.

Her routine had finally gotten back to normal.


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