How Having Strength Makes You Cry in Starbucks

2011

Dear Diary,

I received my daughter’s evaluation results today. Is this how a parent is supposed to find out a child’s diagnosis?  

“Ms. Banks, your daughter is autistic. She will never be fully self-dependent. She will most likely never speak the way you and I speak and will need constant care for the rest of her life.   

Somehow, after hearing the tests results, I drove to my grandmother’s house and parked my car. I don’t remember if she saw me pull up or if I called her but somehow she was at my car door and I collapsed into her arms. 

What did they mean she would never speak or be independent? I am a single parent how in the world am I going to do this on my own?

At the guidance of family members and teachers, I decided to take my 4-year-old through a series of tests. We drove up and down the coast of California going in and out of treatment and research centers. I was exhausted and she was exhausted. I had to take a seat back and really evaluate what was going on. This is MY baby. We can do this!  And now, more than ever, I think the problem was me listening to ideas and thoughts of “experts” instead of my mommy super powers. 

I was treating my daughter as an ailment.

I was ruling out all possibilities of what it could be.  I remember chanting silently to myself, “I am doing the right thing,” as I looked into the rearview mirror and saw my daughter’s miserable expression after an assessment. In her tiny face, I read so much.  I read, “Mommy, I communicate in a way that’s comfortable for me.” “Mommy, I show you my love, why do I have to tell you?”

“Mommy, I’m ok.” 

I remember waking up with a defiant strength and saying, “Lord, it’s in YOUR HANDS.” NO MORE TESTS! No more playful exams with blocks and motor skills assessments. No more piercing eyes watching my daughter’s every move, silently writing on a notepad, that STUPID notepad that all doctors must purchase together at some wholesale store. I am going to dive in and figure out how to be a better mom and honestly…get to know my daughter. 

And I say honestly get to know my daughter because how many parents can actually admit that they know their children.  That they know their kids from the inside out and are concerned with their concerns and hopeful for their dreams instead of our own?

I think the absolute minute we stop worrying, find our inner strength and allow God to move is the precise time he shows us what he is capable of.

Two days ago, I needed an extra java kick and walked into Starbucks.  My daughter went and found a table she liked as she usually does.  With a watchful eye I was in the process of ordering my drink when I heard a tiny voice hover over the crowd.

And I was stunned. Stuck and in a daze I left the line and walked the 2 steps over to my daughter. She look up and smiled at me. I smiled back and she opened her little mouth and sang, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.”  I dropped to my knees and wrapped my arms around her little body. And there I was with tears streaming down my face, IN THE MIDDLE OF STARBUCKS, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

It’s a beautiful feeling having all of your self-doubt wash away.  One thing that I’ve learned is that God will supply all of our needs. He is the ultimate redeemer, counselor and healer. And if God is capable of resurrecting a dead body, capable of creating mankind and the world we live in within 6 days, He is more than capable of coming against the report of a doctor and showing me a miracle.

There is a reason why God blesses us with our children.  It’s because He trusts us to raise them, but while we are raising them, they, too, raise us.  So let’s let our stars grow and watch as they twinkle. 

As a mother to a wonderful daughter on the Autism Spectrum, I understand that she has new wave of learning, thinking and adapting and cannot be treated with some ambiguous pill.  I’ll forever take a stand for this neurodevelopmental disorder, love deep and fight on.

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