“Dear God…thank you for the food in our bellies, and our warm house to sleep in. And please, God, hold my hand while I sleep and not make me have any nightmares. And please help me to have a good day at school tomorrow. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Every night. Every single night these are the words that Ben sends up to God. Okay maybe a few small additions here and there depending on his mood…but for the most part, his big concerns weighing on his sweet little heart at night are (1) uninterrupted sleep and (2) a good day in school. And for him they are big, big worries.
|Ben with his little monkey circus of snuggle buddies.|
I’ve spent so many evenings kneeling at his bedside, convincing him that he will get through the night peacefully. That his magic blanket and God holding his soft little hand will keep him protected and asleep until morning. I know how frightened he is each night. I too suffered through frequent nightmares. I taught him a few years ago, what was passed down to me by my grandma…if you pray to God and ask him to hold your hand while you sleep you will dream peacefully. It worked on me so I had to try with my Ben. It worked. Sometimes. Adding the weighted blanket to bedtime also helped tremendously. The two together have given him something to believe in and have lead to much more restful nights than in the past. He hands that worry over to God and that warm brown blanket every blessed evening. That improved rest is truly a gift and is aiding him in his second most important quest…to have a good day at school.
|They did a writing project where they shared what they are scared and brave about: "i am Brave uve the Darck."|
So for some, it’s the label. For me, it’s access to resources. For Ben…well for him, simply put, it’s about having a good day. He doesn’t know what Asperger’s is. Whether the label exists or not he DOES know when kids aren’t nice to him. He knows when they don’t want to play what HE wants to play. He knows when his teacher is frustrated with him. He knows when he just wants to barricade himself in a corner and can’t. He knows he wants to bring home a good citizenship grade every day. More often than not, he doesn’t. He typically spends our ride home explaining what his warnings were for. I work so hard to reassure him that the grade he gets each day for his behavior doesn’t equal his worth. He spends his afternoon decompressing, reading, playing video games just to forget the chaos of the classroom. He often goes to bed begging me not to make him go to school the next day. And I smile, and kiss his sweet face and tell him tomorrow is a new day. A new day with a new chance. A new chance to make friends…to finish the math test…to not put his hands on his friends…to not get upset about eraser marks on his spelling test…to not cut in line. It’s worth getting up every single day to get that chance again, isn’t it?
|Decompressing with some Angry Birds after a rough day at school.|
|This is one of many shots I've captured of him |
running up the school steps in the morning.
Do you run toward YOUR day?