I don’t know what to call it. Ironic? Nuts? Cray Cray? Or is that too 2016?
It happened today. At church. I was talking to someone about why families who have children with special needs often stay away from church. Sadly, many have lost their faith. Others, just don’t feel like the church has a place for them. And then there are those who feel like outcasts, who can’t relate to the general public.
Then it happened.
I knew immediately what the sound was. Willow had just bitten off the prongs of her plastic fork. It was fellowship time and we were eating cake to celebrate the church secretary’s birthday. Willow, being independent, wanted to feed herself and was doing a fantastic job up until this moment.
As soon as I heard the crack, I grabbed the fork and pried her mouth open. It was empty!
Cue the music!
“Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!…”
As everyone sang, I started to panic. Willow was crying and I couldn’t believe those prongs weren’t in her mouth! The woman I had been talking to told me to face Willow forward and scan the floor. I did. I didn’t see a thing.
Then Willow started gagging! I guess I finally knew where those prongs were!
At that point I started praying out loud to Jesus. Then I asked if there was a nurse in the church. There wasn’t. So, I grabbed my kids and headed to the coat rack.
By the time we got our coats on Willow had calmed down. I hadn’t. One of the ladies sitting near me handed me the broken fork to take with me to the hospital. We left in a blur.
Post ER trip, it sounds like Willow should pass her prongs. We’re just supposed to keep an eye out for bloody stools or abdominal discomfort. I’m sure my non-verbal daughter will tell me when she has a stomach ache.
So, if there was ever any question as to why families with special needs shy away from church, let this stand as an example. I am so horribly embarrassed by what happened this morning. I suppose this could have happened to any small child, but today it happened to my 3 1/2 year old non-verbal child who couldn’t tell us exactly what happened or why she was crying or where she was hurting. That made me panic and go coo-coo crazy in front of a small table of women. Thankfully, the rest of the crowd was too busy singing to notice (I hope).
While I may be embarrassed, my faith is too strong to keep me away from church. I will keep going as hard as it is some Sundays. Man, how I wish I could bring some of my fellow special moms with me. Faith is the only thing that sustains me. It literally is the only thing that keeps me going some days. And, church helps strengthen that faith.
If you’re a mom of a special needs child like I am, and you’re afraid to step into a church but want to, I’m praying for you right now.
If you’re mad at God and don’t understand the pain before you, I also get it.
I totally understand if you think church isn’t for you.
I sometimes feel that too.
But that’s not the truth.
My daughter – born with Down syndrome, several severe heart defects, who had open heart surgery at one month of age, a leukemia scare at a year, a secondary diagnosis of chronic benign neutropenia which sometimes requires shots that cause severe bone pain, emergency bowel surgery, another unexpected diagnosis of celiac disease AND swallowed a plastic fork in front of a crowd of people – is loved by God.
Your child is too.
I hope to see you in church someday. Then maybe I won’t stick out so much…..