This year Jaxon also said mama for the first time. And I think it’s safe to say I won’t be needing anything else for Mother’s Day this year (or ever)!
Two years ago I wrote a blog to Jax, now almost-five-years-old, entitled A Letter To My First Born Son. And as I reflect on the past two years, there’s no way I could have predicted where we would be today. There’s no way I could foresee the good, the bad, and the ugly that we ventured through to get here – to this Mother’s Day, 2022.
You would probably assume that the pandemic, political tensions, and the injustices were the things that rattled me the most over the past two years. And while many of these things shook me to my core and they broke my heart…it wasn’t just those things. It was about my job as a mother and understanding what it looks like to extend unconditional love to Jax and his 2-year-old sister, Blake.
Since my previous blog, Jaxon received an autism diagnosis. Months after that, we also found out he had a rare genetic disorder called KDM5C, that roughly 100 people in the world have. These diagnoses would cause learning disabilities for the foreseeable future, difficulty learning or never learning to toilet train, using a device to speak for potentially the rest of his life, and behavioral struggles long-term.
My initial reaction was horrific anger, envy, and jealousy towards families that didn’t have to go through this.
And if I could be painfully transparent, it had me wondering how in the world my gracious God could allow something like this, something so sad to happen to my precious son, Jaxon.
Add all this to the laundry list of things that drove me (and maybe you too) mad over the past two years…But there was an opportunity in it too. The way I responded had the ability to open the door to inclusion, and understanding the heart and character of Jesus…or it could have caused me to pick fights with friends, family members and educators who “just didn’t get it.”
Being the mama bear that I am, my posture may have shocked you, but I made the very conscious decision that I would not take a stand on issues, but I would instead walk with people – attempting to understand them and their personal journeys. God brought me to a new understanding. It was humbling, but it allowed me to listen without an agenda.
If my friends didn’t have a child with special needs, I didn’t expect them to get it, but I would walk with them through their own hardships. Because, everyone is going through something. My life as a special-needs mom can be exhausting, but I stopped wondering why they didn’t offer to help me more. Instead, I saw they were also in pain and had their own struggles.
When I sat in an IEP meeting for Jaxon’s school and I believe he needed “x, y or z”, I didn’t demand it and get angry with his teacher, but I chose to walk with her, to listen to her. To suspend my agenda. In fact, she opened my eyes to a new perspective that actually resulted in me changing my mind. (This year motherhood also taught me that it is OKAY to change your mind!)
My friends – masked and unmasked, vaccinated or unvaccinated, donkeys or elephants – I didn’t have a bull horn nor did I want to stand on an issue, but I simply walked with them.
And as I made the decision to walk with others, rather than tell others how they need to feel towards our family, specifically Jax, they were disarmed enough to consider my perspective, and some even learned to walk with me too. They learned that their words (as encouraging as they were meant to be), wouldn’t be the secret that heals me…but their caring presence as they chose to simply walk with me, actually did.
As I read the scriptures and understand how Jesus loved others, I think that’s how it looked for Him too. It looked like humility. It looked like walking, shoulder to shoulder, doing the dance with His friends, His followers, and more importantly the people he didn’t see eye to eye with.
I wonder what the past two years would have looked like if we had decided to walk gracefully, peacefully, humbly with one another.
I also wonder what the next two years will be like. Even when it’s hard, I can imagine a lot more love. I think the role of mother forces us to look at others – we’re no longer free to consider only our own wants and needs. And that outward focus on others allows us to walk in the shoes of someone else. Walking like a mother in all areas of life is what I want. And if we model this well, I think the little ones we have the privilege of raising will be better for it. It is an honor to be able to do this with fellow parents and caregivers, like you!
Taylor Leal, KKids Early Childhood Director at Troy campus, is hosting an online Faith & The Family event called My Child With Differing Abilities on the evening of May 24 with her friend and Kensington attender, Tessa Stockman. These two moms hope to share their own experiences – both the highs and lows – to encourage other families on the special-needs journey. Please share this free, online event with others; register now at kensingtonchurch.org/faithandfamily.