Friday, February 17, 2017

New Beginnings

I think it's been about a month ago that I started prepping Sister for a special event that was coming up in our church for the young women in our ward, ages 12-18. It's called New Beginnings. It's basically all the Young Women and the YW leaders welcoming in the new-comers for the year and explaining a bit about it to the new parents and girls becoming involved in the program.

She would throw a fit every time I mentioned it and would fiercely take the invitation off the refrigerator many times hoping that that might cause me to forget.

Sister would forget about it for a time and would yell about other things, but just when I'd think, "Oh, look she's gonna move on," she would be triggered by a word or conversation and {BAM} it would start all over again.

On Saturday I was more aggressively prepping her for the fact that tomorrow (Sunday) was the New Beginnings program for Young Women's.

She started to attack me physically and verbally to the point I had to just stay away from her for a while and allow her to fall apart before I could calm her down enough to talk to her more about it, but it would just cause a bigger meltdown.

I started questioning my decision to make her go to this thing and even started to justify my reasons to not push her to do something this uncomfortable for her.

I counseled with Marc about it and he encouraged me to move forward on the path of making her attend the small event.

With all of her ranting and raving I started feeling myself getting down, feeling dark and hopeless.

I had already had a week with Brother trying to get him to do something other than sit downstairs in his man-cave/pony coloring station/Shania Fan Club. Right in the middle of me feeling despaired, I upset Baby somehow and she decided she needed to hit me a few times to drive her point home. I giggle a little bit because when I firmly say, "No. That's not nice. You don't hit," she immediately starts to cry and says, "Say sorry. Say sorry. Say sorry," and after all she's done, I end up apologizing...''

Anyway, I went to bed feeling a bit conquered by our children and defeated by my own opinions of myself. I woke up feeling pretty much the same way, but I felt like I'd had some time to recuperate and get back into the groove of being patient while being yelled at, threatened and hit.

Until Sister woke up with in a flurry, exclaiming, "I can't do this! I can't! Mommy don't make me go! I don't want to go. No. NO!"

This continued during her shower, getting dressed, eating breakfast and playing to pass the time before church.

All this while I questioned myself again, decided I was not a good mother and had no idea why Heavenly Father thought I could do this.

Because of these feelings I was losing my patience, and frankly, I think Marc was too.

I almost wanted to just bag church altogether. It was going to be hard, and I just couldn't do "hard" anymore. I needed a break.

But, after a prayer in my heart, I found the strength to go talk to my friend, Amanda, to counsel with her about making Sister go to this meeting. Amanda is in the Young Women's Presidency so I knew she'd be able to tell me a little bit about what all they were doing for it. We discussed and decided that Sister would just sit with me the whole time, they would not announce her name and I would try to include her while sitting in her seat for the program.

I was a bit hesitant because her panic attacks had been really bad that morning and I was really looking for an excuse to not make her go to the meeting.

Then my friend, Chele, knocked at Amanda's door and, even though I had bribed Sister MANY times with "going with a friend" ploy, I felt impressed to ask Chele if her daughter Calli (her name for the blog) was going. Chele replied, "yes," and then asked if Sister wanted to ride with them. I declined knowing that Sister was insistent on not going with a friend or not, but I wanted to at least give her comfort that Calli would be there too.

I walked back home, came through the door and announced to Sister that Calli would be there at New Beginnings and for the first time in two days Sister started to giggle! She grinned a big smile and said, "I get to ride with her too?" Of course I responded with an excited, "yes!" and then sent a text to Chele to let her know the plan.

OK, maybe this day wasn't going to as bad as I thought. At least Sister was smiling now.

Until we got in the car.

Then it was a myriad of other things...

When we first walked into sacrament meeting I heard Sister gasp and say, "Mom, there's someone's bag in our seat!" I was gearing up to steer her to another seat, but then a friend stepped over, grabbed the bag and said she had saved the seat for us.

That was one of the first tender mercies. After the past few days we'd had with Sister, I am pretty sure that my relief and appreciation plastered my face.

Then we sat and all was well. No big fights. No selfish behavior toward each other. There were even many times when Brother or Sister would laugh or get excited about what was being said at the pulpit.

During the passing of the sacrament I began to feel the spirit (strong feeling) that Heavenly Father was trying to comfort Marc and I as we were struggling with our reality.

I felt that peace through the entire sacrament and was so grateful for it.

At the end of Sacrament Meeting, life got back to real, and Sister started getting upset at me to get out of the way while Baby wouldn't let me set her down. I had to hold her and comfort her as the crowd was growing bigger and getting a little bit noisy. There were a few people with questions so I wasn't able to get Baby to her class right away.

The delay set her off and when I brought her into the Primary room she melted from my arms onto the floor and laid there like a limp noodle, whining. I tried to comfort her for a few seconds and then I just figured that her teachers and Primary leaders know what to do for her so I left her to their care and began to walk out the door.

Just as I walked out the door I looked back to make sure that Baby wasn't causing too much of a ruckus and right at that moment a woman I had never met before quickly stepped over Baby and gave a brisk, "'scuse me sweetie." I thought she was going to come tell me that leaving my daughter there on the floor was not appropriate and she was going to lecture me or something (that happens more often than you'd think).

"Excuse me. You don't know me, but..."

That's when I prepared my heart to hear I had done something wrong or that my daughter was being inappropriate...

"I don't know you or anything about you..."

Oh boy, this is gonna be bad, this is how it sometimes starts before they lecture or insult me...

"But I was sitting behind your sweet little family today and... oh I'm about to cry.."

At this point and I sincerely intrigued and somewhat shocked as I was realizing she was about to pay me a compliment.

"I felt such  strong spirit sitting behind your family. The feeling of peace just radiated from your little family and it was so special and so amazing and I'm so thankful that I was able to feel that special spirit, but I don't know why I felt that way because I don't even know you or your kids' situation. It was just so strong."

I was so touched by her words that I replied with some tears filling my eyes, "You have no idea how much that means to me. This has been a really rough day for us and I thought for sure that it would be our frustration and despair you would feel."

She said again, still with tear-filled eyes, "but I don't know why I felt that strong spirit. There was just something about your children."

I then explained to her that all three of our children have special needs.

I assured her that it was the strong, celestial spirits of our children that she was feeling.

I gave her a big hug and left down the hall to join Marc in class.

As I walked down the hall I was realizing that it wasn't only the spirit that our children shine, but it was Heavenly Father comforting Marc and I. His love was so strong for us in those moments that even someone sitting by us was able to feel of that love.

It hit me how powerful that was.

I was able to reflect on all the little things that God had put in our path that was showing us he loves us and wasn't trying to punish me or Marc, but was showing us his love and grace.

I kept that sweet and tender feeling in my heart for another hour and a half... then church was over.

Sister came to get me in her anxious manner to gather the family to the car as quickly as her anxiety was telling her to and that's when it hit again.

Some girls were commenting sweetly to Sister about being excited to see her at New Beginnings and without warning Sister was back on the "I ain't going!!!" wagon.

She kept it up until we got home and carried it through to dinner.

We got done with dinner at about 5:00 and I had the prompting to give Sister some time warnings:

"Sister, in one and a half hours Calli will be coming to pick you up for New Beginnings."

This statement was met with the same reaction that had preceded dinner.

"Sister, in one hour Calli will be coming to pick you up for New Beginnings."

She fussed and told me to leave her alone.

"Sister, in 45 minutes Calli will be coming to pick you up for New Beginnings."

She, annoyed, said, "I know mom!"

"Sister, in 30 minutes Calli will be coming to pick you up for New Beginnings."

She calmly called from her room, "OK."

"Sister, in 15 minutes Calli will be coming to pick you up for New Beginnings."

She walked by and said, "OK."

"Sister, in 5 minutes Calli will be coming to pick you up for New Beginnings."

She gave a little happy jump and squeed with joy.

"Sister, here she is."

"Oh yay!" she said as she grabbed her coat and skipped out the door.

I got in our car and drove to the church too because I wasn't sure if Sister would last and I knew I'd have to bring the get-away car...

It was a success.

I'm not saying it went without incident, complaint or anxiety, but she sat the whole time and listened and giggled and acted curious.

After the presentations were over and it was time to mingle I think that Sister was excited about how many people she knew quite well and were coming up to her to say "hi."

Her smile was infectious. She's so excited to grow up.

I drew a caricature of each new Beehive and it was so fun to do one for my own daughter!

Once I sensed that she might be toast I watched for her signal to leave. She turned to me and said, "Let's go home now." Without hesitation I dropped my conversation with others and took Sister to the door to walk out to the car.

On the way out I asked Sister how she was feeling and she answered, "My heart is racing."

So many emotions hit me in the moment: 1) That she could explain to me how she was feeling. 2) She was telling me in a calm manner. 3) She was recognizing how she felt. 4) She didn't run off screaming in panic, but calmly walked with me to the car.

She came home happy as a bird and told her Daddy all about it.

If Marc and I hadn't been willing to get through the hard stuff, none of these beautiful moments would ever have happened.

I just wish I was a little more faithful that Heavenly Father is always by our side wanting to guide and help us.

She loved her hand-out/treat she got from the girls that night

She was even so happy that she decided to write and put together her own Valentines. 

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