Tuesday, April 17, 2012
A lot of work for a big day ahead
April 19 Update: friends, thank you for all your kind and encouraging responses to my email box and on the Catholic Aspergers loop as well as my blog comments. It has SO lifted me, truly. I feel more courage to accept things as they are and strength to basically be humiliated and live through it :) The most important thing in our faith is receiving the sacraments openly and freely and God calls ALL, certainly not the perfect in mind, body and soul, but those with infirmities of all kinds inside and out, and those blemished with sinfulness....He calls them to himself no matter what. God created my son the way he is for purpose and reason, his little life has meaning and he is now calling him into the community of the church through the Eucharistic supper. I know in my heart this is true, and this is our focus. I am grateful for all those who stand by me holding me up. God bless you all!
Mark and Mommy, Feb 2012, First Reconciliation
It’s hard for me to believe that Mark Thomas is going to be making his First Communion on April 29th. I can not tell you how nervous I really am, how he isn’t even concerned, because being autistic he doesn’t seem to sense those kinds of things….and how I am praying my heart out he does “fine” throughout the entire ceremony. I say this with all honesty and experience; I have taught the first sacrament class for 17 years now, and this is my own fourth child coming through my class. I’ve seen my other neuro-typical children, and hosts of others’ children all these years, and I can count on one hand the children who have been more challenging, special needs kind of children. My Mark is one of them.
For Mark to stand and sing or stand and read or stand and listen during the mass is a huge chore that stresses him. It exhausts him. He can do one or the other, but he lacks core strength and so standing and then having him participate by singing is difficult. Our music leader has the children standing, singing AND doing hand motions! Have mercy please! lol! Really, it’s VERY hard for Mark, but he is trying. He tries so hard to just do the hand motions, he can’t sing, he can’t even try. We just let him be. I just hope he doesn’t fall out of his pew, stop dead in his tracks while doing something like offertory gifts with the group, or stumble while walking in procession..or do something odd like freeze up while receiving communion, or countless other things I know he has difficulty with, but we work to conceal in our worship. (Whispering LOUDLY, …that’s another one….)
I’m also concerned right now because Mark is sick, again. He has caught one virus after another it seems since he began occupational therapy in the last month. I’m beginning to think he is picking up germs on the equipment. Maybe it’s coincidental, but he is generally a very healthy child and rarely gets ill.
Lord I just pray he can stay well enough through the next 2 weeks once this illness has passed….that he will do well for his big day.
Every little thing, especially an illness, even hayfever, throws Mark off. He can only function so much, only process so much at a time. One body sensation seems to block out another. These are the invisible things that I know and fear that inhibit his capabilities of performing at his best.
My mother is SO excited to see her last grandchild make this special sacrament. She will be seated in the family pew with us, and Mark will be on the end of the pew near the aisle, with me right beside him. The children will process in together and I will likely be seated in my pew when that happens. I hope he can manage to do it without a glitch.
So much at stake, so much anticipation and so much anxiety building within me. Thank goodness our pastor is understanding of these kinds of things…but I know not everyone (hardly anyone) at all in our congregation realizes Mark has autism. It might surprise some that don’t really pay attention, it might solve a puzzle piece for others that really do.
All I know is, I am praying, and preparing him with the best of what we have to offer to follow through appropriately that day….the rest is truly in God’s hands……
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May God who grants peace and assurance, grant this day the prayer I pray.