Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.

-Me

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Sunday Solution

I haven’t been to church in quite some time. It’s hard for me to admit to that. I think of myself as a person that goes to church. I am a member of a church. I am just not an attending member of my church.

The main reason I am not an attending member of my church is it is just too hard. I’m a single mom, and Bob doesn’t like to go to church with me. It is hard to keep Sandis with me, and it is hard to keep Gracie with me when I am busy keeping Sandis with me. My son has a hard time in social situations that require certain acceptable behaviors, and church is a big one. He has trouble with the noise. He has trouble with the people. He does not understand that you don’t run up and down the aisles during the sermon. He loves the music, but it hurts his ears. He doesn’t know what to expect next. Church is terribly hard for my son, and he requires 1:1 at church. Add to the equation my three year old, who because she is three, also requires 1:1, and I am outnumbered. Church is too hard, so I just haven’t gone.

I tried for some time, but I had unrealistic expectations of what Sandis would be capable of, and I had unrealistic expectations of what I would be capable of. We always left unhappy. Church was not a nurturing loving place for me, it was an endless cause of my sense of failure and disappointment.

It has been over three months since Sandis’s diagnosis. I have learned so much about his capabilities and I’ve learned so much about setting him up for successes rather than failures. Sandis has been begging to go to church, and I have found a thousand reasons not to. Well, this week, we went. Sandis and I that is. Gracie stayed home. It was a success.

I have changed my expectations. I used the brushing regimen before we left for church, before Sunday School, and at the start of the church service. I didn't have to struggle with Sandis to be in Sunday school all alone. I didn’t have to worry about annoyed teachers who can’t understand why Sandis starts screeching during music. This time, I sat with Sandis through Sunday School. I was there with him, so I didn’t have to struggle to leave. During Sunday school music, I sat with him, rocked him, and had hands and ear plugs ready just in case it got to be too much. We made it through, he even had fun!

We went to the main church service, and this time I didn’t feel like I had to stay the entire church service. We stayed until it was our time to go. We didn't have to live by anybody else’s rules but ours. We stayed until Sandis told me that he’d had enough. And then we left.

And you know what? I changed my expectations to be what I could reasonably expect from myself and Sandis, and we had awesome results. Next week is Gracie’s week for church, and I can’t wait! I’ve decided I can go to church every Sunday, and the kids will take turns. I don’t have to set myself up for failure by saying I need to sit through the entire service if the kids just can’t do that yet. Each child won’t have the anxiety of a pissed off mom when they go to church as I will have only one child to attend to and a lot less stress. We are finding our peace with church, and we get to Praise God a little more because of it.

5 comments:

Minnesota Nice said...

Sarah - you are such a creative problem-solver. What a good reminder that when we hit a dead end, just back up and try another route.
Have a good week.
K

Fred (didn't know it was a girl's name did ya???) said...

Such a lovely post. Isn't it amazing what kids can do once we know how to hellp them. I am so glad that you and Sandis are able to share the church experience. Kudos on more amazing parenting.

Chrissie in Belgium said...

Sarah I am so happy that this has worked out for you. You figured out a way to help yourself and in a manner so that your kids can also benefit. I just wish I had a religion that could help me out. I was never raised with one and so I just don't have it. It is a blank. I am glad that your faith can help you.

Kate said...

Sarah, I think it's great that you're working with your son to help him participate in church activites! And you get to share that time together too. I still remember going to church with my dad as a kid as something we did together. Sometimes I think we put the highest expectations on ourselves-it sounds like Sandis and Gracie are doing great because you're a good mom and that's what counts.

Kelsey said...

Sarah,

Awesome! I'm so impressed with your reasoning... I'm going to keep what you said about "setting up for success" and "realistic expectations" in mind as I get ready to become a parent.