I’ve written before how amazing our church is, how blessed we are to have been led to this community of faith. It’s like family there. And our staff….well, they’re pretty awesome. But I was touched and reminded again that people are good, they care. And when they take the time to get to know my Little Man on his level, and in a manner he’s comfortable, they have a special place in my heart.
Our youth minister has developed relationships with my bigs, both of them. But Little Man is just reaching the age he’s able to do the pre-teen/teen stuff. Yet this particular man has spent the last few years engaging with LM as far as he can, talking with him, understanding sometimes he will get a response, and sometimes he won’t. It’s never seemed to fluster him. That’s always impressed me. When your kid is different, with different needs, and different, sometimes hostile/rude, ways of responding and interacting, it’s pretty stressful to take him into social situations.
I digress. The youth had a Star Wars movie marathon this past Sunday afternoon. Little Man decided he would accept the invite, along with Big Man. He took his iPod and headphones, just in case he would need some decompress time. I messaged that much to our fabulous youth minister. I dropped the boys off at 12:30. At 2:30, I got a text letting me know Little Man was doing great. Whew! He was engaging, he was interacting, he was having a good time. An hour later, Big Man sent a message letting me know LM was getting close to maximum capacity (our code for “he’s about done”). Shortly after that, the ym let me know it was going downhill, but LM was still hanging in. I headed out to pick him up.
I expected tears when I arrived. Nope. LM was sitting there with Big Man and the YM, looking at grumpy cat memes. He was ready to go home, but he was fine. He’d had some food (always a good recovery tool with him), and bounced back, but yes, he wanted to go. Then our youth minister let me know they’d worked out their own system of thumbs-up/thumbs-down for where Little Man was, and if he wanted to engage. They worked that out on their own. He didn’t have to, but he did it anyways. He didn’t have to, but he did it anyways. Did you catch that? That’s pretty special. That’s pretty awesome. He’s not LM’s teacher. He’s not someone who has to deal with him. He didn’t have to take the time and energy it takes to figure out my little guy, how to connect with him, how to recognize his moods, how best to respond in the face of imminent meltdown. He didn’t have to do that. But he did. And this momma may have cried a little bit on the way home. If you’re reading this, our blessing of a youth minister, thank you, so very much. You’ve shown us once again we are in the perfect place, and that our Little Man is safe, accepted, honored as the gift he is.