So, we’ve been at our church for a couple of years now. Most people are aware of Little Man’s issues. They’re kind of hard to miss. They are blessedly accepting and loving, not to mention very supportive. It makes it easier. It doesn’t stop his behaviors but their responses make it comfortable for us, most of the time. Yesterday was NOT one of those times.
We tend to sit down towards the front. I should probably relegate us to the back row, but you find your “spot” and you stick with it. Our church is growing by leaps and bounds, and there seemed to be a much higher-than-usual number of new people in the service yesterday, some of whom were sitting right behind us. Perfect storm….Little Man does not get his ADHD meds on the weekends and he tends more towards the hyper side of that particular disorder. He had decided he did not want to be at church yesterday, fueling a pure oppositional-defiant disorder response. And he hit the wall on stimulation which brought about hand waving, alternating between fetal position and laying full-out across the chairs, random noises, and frequent shushing. It. Was. Brutal. I wanted so desperately to be able to focus on the message and the worship. He was having none of it. We battled through, but I was mortified, exhausted, drained, and nearly in tears by the end. Welcome to our church, new people. I wanted to apologize to those newbies sitting behind us. He was such a distraction.
I fought with myself all day yesterday about taking him to church. Why do I even bother? I don’t know he gets anything out of it. Half the time, I have to go back and view the online video of the message because I’ve been so distracted during church, I’ve missed the points. Yet I continue to haul him along with us. He has his headphones. He asks me every five minutes what time it is and how much longer we have. He doesn’t like the music. He flops around constantly. He sometimes cries. He will take himself outside if he really needs break. So why do it? Why put myself and those around us through the whole process? Am I being fair to myself, much less anyone else? It would be easier to just leave him at home.
I have to believe he is hearing everything that’s being said and sung. How do I know this? Because I know that no matter how much it might seem he isn’t paying the least bit of attention, he is taking it all in. It happens at school. It happens at home. He will replay to me conversations I wasn’t even aware he heard. He will spit out facts his teacher would swear he wasn’t engaged in the discussion. So I know he’s getting something. And that means something to me.
I do have an internal argument every Sunday morning, especially after days like yesterday. It was so bad. I’ll likely continue to have those arguments week after week. I wish I knew what we’re doing is best and right, not just for me or for everyone sitting around us, but for him as well. The debate continues.