Yesterday my daughter had surgery. It wasn't major but she was fully sedated. Today as I carried her out of mass kicking me and pulling my hair, the warmth I felt was true embarrassment. While her body worked through the chemicals, it reacted. There was the climbing of the fridge that sent her falling, bruising herself and my wondering why they didn't send her home with her "fall risk" tag that they carefully attached to her bed.
To be honest, I was more afraid of losing her yesterday than I have ever been in my entire life. As we waited for surgery she pulled my hair, pinched my skin, kicked my stomach and screamed. When the anesthesiologist walked in, he told me to "pick her up". He wanted to get this surgery done. That day. I stood, in shock, knowing chances were he was an amazing doctor but that he missed the wine and dine before the act that he was about to perform.
On our ride home, my daughter began to come out of her haze and enter back into the world. While the nurses and doctors insisted she'd be tired, rest and slow down she didn't get the memo so today, we were back to life as usual.
In our house, that is morning CCD, church, sports and hopes of having the house look some way inhabitable as tomorrow CMO arrives to work with us to create a family plan.
As we sat in mass, I had all the goodies. I had coloring pages, Shopkins, LOL Dolls, Hatchimals and a few books from or friend Olivia that would keep her occupied as my older kids, my husband and I celebrated mass. Yet, it didn't work.
By the time the homily ended, Seraphina was aggressive. She insisted she was done. I sat there asking, "why?". Why do I live life with aggressive autism? To learn? To teach? To grow my own self into a world that I never expected? Perhaps all of the above.
As mass went on, she was more and more agitated. She began to stress pulling my hair, pinching my face, punching me. I wanted to know why? I didn't. I knew people were working to divert their eyes, to try to pretend they didn't see her, hear her and that she didn't impact their own mass experience. It was then I scooped her up, she had two fists full of my hair, I inhaled deeply, taking in all she was, who she was and hoping that God would grant me peace. I gingerly set her down on the floor in the Narthex. I began to stroke her arms, untangle her fingers gripped in my hair. I said a quick prayer, hoping that God would give m the strength I needed to handle the looks, the stares the judgement and the strength her siblings needed to handle the embarrassment of life with a child who has special needs.
Then it happened. This woman followed me out of mass. She stood over us, she asked about Seraphina. She recognized that she had autism. She asked to help me. She asked to touch her. She held her legs quietly while we got her to come down from a melt down she could not control and as we quietly spoke I realized I was not alone.
Her actions, they didn't change her world, they did however change mine. I felt like had support. I felt my child had love and I felt we were not alone.
So many times I stand in my shoes, alone, feeling they are too big for me to wear. When I feel like I am alone, I am weak but when I have someone by side, I am not alone. Today, I am grateful for the woman who chose to act, who taught me I wasn't alone and my daughter is loved.
To the woman, the one I don't know. thank you. I know your daughter is named Victoria. I am grateful to you. For your love, your support and your kindness to give me your time. Thank you.
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