Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Crazy Communion Day

   As the school year moved along, and we headed into spring, our family was busy preparing for our
son Christopher's First Communion. Although our church had a quiet room, Mike and I decided it would be best to let Mikey and his little brothers stay at home that morning.Of course, they would be part of the celebration afterwards, but to handle the three little ones and pay attention to Chris at the same time seemed like a bit too much.
  We had arranged for my parents to come over early and keep an eye on the kids. My head told me that this was probably not the best idea, but my heart wanted to give Chris all of the attention he deserved that day, so we stuck with that plan.
   As we were getting ready that morning, I sensed that things weren't going to go as planned. Chris was happy, looked very handsome, and was ready for his big day. The boys all seemed pretty content as well.Seemed too good to be true, and it was. When my parents arrived, they sat in the living room and started to play with the kids. Slowly, I noticed Mikey's mood change.He knew we were leaving, and the separation anxiety resurfaced.He wanted to go with us. I felt terrible not bringing him, but I did not want to be in a situation at church where my son might possibly become disruptive, and interfere with this special day for so many families. I had always tried to be considerate in that respect. If we were ever out and any of my children became moody, or disruptive, I would always try to remove them from the situation so as not to be disrespectful to others. Well, this had backfired on us in a big way.
    Before we left, we had Chris pose outside for a few pictures. Mikey was becoming more upset, and my parents already looked frazzled and we had not even pulled out of the driveway yet! I told my dad that maybe if he walked with Mikey outside for a bit, he would be okay. He tried, but it didn't work. My dad had always been an extremely patient man, and my children adored him, but both he and my mom were older, and this had already proven to be too much for them. My dad was flustered, Mikey was in tears, and Mike and I were beyond stressed. Mike decided to stay back for awhile,and try to diffuse the situation. I went ahead to church with Chris, and had hoped that Mike would follow along shortly after.
   Well, after all was said and done, Chris made his Communion, Mike missed it, and my father-in-law had to stand in for Mike at church. I remember a nun, new to the church knew what was happening, and sat with us, trying to provide some level of comfort,I suppose. However, I didn't want any. Here we were in another situation where someone was feeling sorry for us. I think that bothered me more than anything else. Of course, I had wanted Mike to be there for his oldest son's First Communion, but at the same time, I couldn't help but want Mikey to be okay too. That is the thing about being the parent of more than one child...your attention is constantly divided, and you are sometimes forced to make difficult decisions.When one of your children has autism, that happens more often than not.
    At the end of the day, Mikey was okay, Chris had made his Communion, and Mike and I were
mentally exhausted. As I look back, I know it was a rough day, but it was only the beginning of many times that we would have to make sacrifices on this journey. That is life, and it was our life, and we have learned to be okay with it all. The bottom line was this,at the end of that crazy day, everyone was happy. Did it go the way we had pictured it? No. Was it the ideal situation? No. Did it go according to plan? Definitely not, but  times like that  always made me think about a quote from a book I read in high school....." the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray." I have since learned not to make too many plans.

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