We were having one of those mornings at church. One where Herbie would not sit down for Sunday school unless I was holding him on my lap. Even then he was throwing markers and drawing on the table, yelling over the teacher's voice, etc. The other kids are super sweet and just smiled, the teacher took it in stride and tried to find some way to engage him. Anyway, we finished up and moved into the church, where I thought my bag full of snacks would keep him quiet for awhile. No such luck. He was jumping, yelling, throwing things, etc. I could see the look on my husband's face, the one that means let's just get out of here and cut our losses.
It is not usually like this. One of the reasons we visited this church in the first place was that it was small, there were not all kinds of distractions, it was not crowded, the music was not loud. We noticed that the typical sensory overload symptoms did not show up when we came here. But today something was off, we still were not back in our routine after Christmas break, the weather was changing, who knows.
It all culminated in the children's sermon, when both kids went up front and did not sit still. The Wise Old Owl thought it would be funny to keep moving to different spots far from the pastor. That wasn't too bad. But Herbie was jumping around, calmed for a second by the pastor gently putting his hand on his shoulder, then decided to pull off his shoes. And the shoes of the kid next to him. So I went up front and sat down with the kids, Herbie on my lap again. In other setting, I would have been completely embarrassed to do this, but when I looked up, I just saw lots of approving smiles. Really! It was so nice to know I was not being judged.
After we went back to our seats, both kids were perfectly well behaved for the rest of the service and fellowship time afterwards. Were the sweet ladies in the choir up front praying for us? Why do I always forget to pray for myself in such situations, anyway?
Later that afternoon, a woman from church called me. She started right off by saying she had been talking to the Lord about me (I love to know people are praying for me!) and felt prompted to call me. She just wanted to say that she loved our family, and added, "Thanks for sharing your kids with all of us at church." It was a lovely conversation that brought me to tears (of joy) and erased all of the frustration of the morning. I am so glad for people who encourage me in these ways. I hope that I can be an encouragement to others, too!

It seems that the question everyone is asking these last few days is about favorite memories of 2011. I have a hard time coming up with an answer because I am generally too tired to think that hard! The first few months of the year were a blur of testing and evaluations and doctor's appointments. We had a respite from all that in the summer and a fun vacation but summer also comes with stress due to a lack of routine/structure. We certainly had plenty of wonderful moments and days but what I define as a great moment does not mean all that much to others.
One great development was the start of school going so well for both kids. I love that they love school, that they love their teachers. So much in fact, that Herbie wanted to make Christmas cards for all 17 of his. (Classroom teacher, paras, specialists, therapists, bus driver, etc.) This means a lot to me because I never really had teachers that cared so much. Herbie's teachers go the extra mile to help him be successful and he loves them. I see so much of myself in my kids and remember how painful the early years of school were for me, and it is wonderful to see that my kids are getting a better start.
I also love that my kids are so comfortable at church. If there is anywhere that their outbursts and strange behaviors should be accepted, it should be (and is) at church. That makes me very happy. I am glad that Christmas was a lot of fun for us and I am getting better at managing my expectations. We didn't need to have a big celebration, just some quiet time together without a schedule to be a family and play with the new Christmas toys.
Anyway, I guess I have been thinking more about what my hopes are for 2012. I hope that the Wise Old Owl finally gets a diagnosis that can guide his therapists into treatments to move him off of the plateau he seems to be stuck on. I hope that I can be at peace with whatever diagnosis he is or isn't given. I hope that Herbie stops wetting the bed. (And I hope that my washing machine doesn't break from over use.) I hope that school continues to go well. I hope that my kids can make some good friends. I hope that our family can yell less and laugh more.