If there’s one thing motherhood has taught me, it’s that I know way less than I thought I knew.
I had a big list of “I will nevers” before I had kids. (I will never let my children do x in the middle of a store. I will never let my children talk to me in x sort of way. Insert your “I will never” here.) Then I had kids. And not only that, but I had a child with autism. My pride, selfishness, judgmental heart, and lack of grace were quickly exposed when Nate didn’t conform to my silly ideas. Oh, he was beautiful, sweet, cute, lovable. But he didn’t talk; he had meltdowns and tantrums at inopportune times; he didn’t look at me when I called his name; he wouldn’t eat anything healthy.
That was often my thought. Even then, it was very much about me. I have a feeling that motherhood in general is a slow process of “dying to self,” of giving up selfishness and preconceptions. Perhaps I would have gone through much the same process of realization if I hadn’t had a child on the spectrum; I think it was just intensified.
In addition to recognizing my own sin, I also mourned for Nate’s lost childhood. It was hard seeing others’ neurotypical children who just “got it.” Their moms didn’t have to teach them how to talk or communicate; they just got it. They could go to parks and playdates and fun stuff, all while Nate was going to therapy.
Slowly, slowly, the focus turned away from me, my lost mothering experience. I learned much about letting go of expectations and embracing the beauty of what the Lord has given me.
Looking back, I can see stages and steps God brought to loosen my grip on it being all about me: adding a second baby to the mix (and then a third!); homeschooling for 1st grade; doing the GAPS diet (I’m serious. That was an eye-opening sacrifice.). I’m still learning. I still have a tendency to turn inward and make it about me. I have bad days. But nothing has been as revealing and refining as motherhood.
This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.