Living with Michael’s Asperger’s is like living with someone who always stays behind a curtain. You know they’re back there, and if you get really creative you can kind of communicate or see the curtain banging around, and it sort of suffices for getting the every day job done, but you still live in two different worlds. When you try to talk to Michael, you never know what random fact is going to shoot out at you, and it’s usually in the form of a movie quote. For the a while, he had echolalia, and I would struggle with basic mommy things. Did he say “I love you” because I did or because he actually meant it?
Every now and then, his brain and body calm, and I’m able to push the curtain aside, however briefly, and catch a glimpse of the kid that’s back there. He’s a beautiful child. He’s smart, I’m pretty sure he’s funny, and he’s very loving and generous. He’s great at memorizing songs and Scripture verses, and he’s been fascinated with Jesus and Bible stories since he could talk. Sure, he has his four-year-old moments like every other child, but when the limbs stop flailing and the mouth stops verbally dumping out all the contents of his head, I can see God is taking our feeble parenting attempts and turning them into something amazing.
Yesterday, we were all packed in the car, on our way out for another fabulous shopping trip. These guys are a three-ring circus show like no other, let me tell you. Whenever we get in the car, I say a prayer. It’s the same one every time, short and easy for them to understand. I usually pray it, and at the end, they both like to repeat “Amen” after me (or “MEMAN!!” in Gabriel’s case).
When I finished the prayer yesterday, there was no chorus of “Amens” from the back seat. Michael was quiet, but after a moment, he very calmly said, “Thank you for praying, Mommy.”
::insert really huge happy dance here::
That’s no movie quote!!! Maybe he picked it up in Sunday School, maybe it was an actual original thought. I’ll never know. Sometimes I struggle with the fact that I don’t get to regularly measure how much spirituality I’m teaching my kids. They don’t often indicate to me what they absorb. But every now and then, God gives me awesome moments like these to assure me He’s keeping their hearts close to His. I hope I’ll get to watch Michael accept the Gospel one day. It’s still a really abstract concept for him to grasp, but until then, I’m so grateful that the Lord is covering that gap for me.
Here’s my motley crew, back from shopping yesterday. And yes, I bribe them with cookies. We all do what we gotta do!