I don't talk about it on my blog. I don't mention it in public. And for years I couldn't even admit it to myself let alone others.
From the outside, it looked like I simply had a grumpy, extremely shy child. At home, life was difficult.
When I finally caved and asked for help from an online forum, the unofficial diagnosis I was given was not what I wanted to hear. I spent years denying what I knew was true.
When my child was young, I sheltered her. As she grew and her behaviors became more outlandish, I figured all my sheltering had created a monster and I cracked down on my disciplining. When I finally accepted that all the disciplining in the world wasn't going to reach the heart of the matter, we finally made some progress. Very. Slow. Progress.
We learned about natural remedies for the neurological issues and teaching techniques for the behavioral issues and now as an eleven year old, we have more good days than bad days. Praise the Lord!
But, the worst of it all for me as a mother was that I was fighting for my child alone. No one truly saw what I saw because no one else was with her as much as I was. At home was where she let her guard down and what looked like grumpy aloofness in public became an emotional roller coaster at home. Even here, even now, I don't feel I can really candidly speak of those years I spent crying in my garage, wondering how we would ever make it through another day. I would tell my husband over and over, "I'm tired. I'm just so tired."
Today, I choose to be brave. Brave enough to say, "I have a child with special needs you cannot see."
I am a mother who has struggled day in and day out with doing the right thing for a child who tests my very limits and capacities. I am a mother who has stayed up nights worrying about the health and welfare of a child who didn't act "normal." I am a mother who rejoices at even the tiniest breakthrough because it means we are one step closer to learning to live and flourish in a life that once felt out of control.
And I am thankful. Thankful for good days, Thankful for other mothers who have mentored me. Thankful for coping skills. Thankful for a daughter who didn't mistakenly end up in our family.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
If you are a mother like me, I encourage you to keep praying, keep giving thanks, keep searching and learning and loving as only a mother can! You are not alone because even when you feel like no one else in the world understands, God does. In fact, He knows your child much better than you ever could and WONDERFUL are His works.