Power of Three

September 10, 2011

After Evan was diagnosed with Autism in February, I talked with a representative from ASK (AboutSpecialKids ). We discussed everything from insurance, therapies, raising kids with and without autism and marriage. At the end of our conversation, she advised me that my husband and I should go to some counseling sessions – even if we did not feel like it or want to – we should do it.

So we did.

It was good. At the time, I was overwhelmed by everything and Jesse was feeling that Evan would be fine as time went on. I remember the counselor looking at me and saying ‘how does that make you feel’? 

No, really, that is what she said! 

It was a good moment though, because I felt like I could say to him that I was freaked out. We both knew it, of course. Saying it made it real. In turn, we learned that his optimistic attitude was a good thing, but that it could also make me feel isolated – as if I was the only one concerned about Evan.

About six months have passed. Each of our perspectives have changed since then. I think it is starting to set in that Evan is a special needs child. We certainly knew this months ago. Yet, as he starts school and moves up in the nursery, we find ourselves facing decisions and handling situations that tell us he is different than other kids.

Last Saturday, Evan was running a fever most of the day. He just seemed out of it and took a long nap. Then, on Sunday, he was sick to his stomach once and took two, three-hour naps. By the evening, he was in much better spirits. The doctor checked him out and there was no sore throat or earache.

However, for several days he was easily frustrated. It was kind of a long 3-4 days for all of us.  The last evening, he was so angry and throwing a fit right before bed. Honestly, I had reached my limit. I tucked him in bed and was prepared to hear him cry for awhile.

And then Jesse came.

Jesse went in and rubbed his head and said, “I know, buddy. Its been a rough day, but things will get better.” Evan stopped crying and looked him.  You could see it in his eyes that he understood. After a few minutes, Jesse came and joined me on the couch. All was quiet in Evan’s room.

We talked about Evan a lot that night. As I shared how Evan could not tell us his tummy ached or that he felt sick, tears rolled down my husband’s face.  And he, in turn, remarked that Evan must feel so isolated much of the time.  He probably doesn’t know what he is feeling, but the emotion is there.  We see it in the outbursts of anger and grinding his teeth.  We see it in the running and laughing.  He feels.  Just as much as you or I.

It struck me while we were talking that Jesse is the heart of our family.  For months, I have worried about Evan, prayed about Evan, lobbied for Evan, worked on things for Evan. In truth, very few times, I have ever thought about how Evan must feel. 

I definitely could feel guilty about this.  Yet, I don’t.  I do my part for Evan.  Jesse does his.  We have different parts to play in this journey.  We connect each other with those different parts.  In doing so, we make each other better contenders in the fight.

In the end, neither Jesse or I are in this alone.

“Though one may be overpowered in the fight by another,

two can withstand it. 

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

(Ecclesiastes 4:12)

We keep fighting the fight together. And with God, we will not be conquered. 

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