Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Feeling Atypical

- from Christy

The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years bring a flurry of parties and get togethers that keep our calendars booked and our stomachs full. I have always loved getting together with family and friends, and many people who know me well might even label me as outgoing. (Ok, stop the snickering.) Jeremy would be the first to tell you that, in our early years of marriage and parenting, I pleaded for us to "go out" every weekend. I longed for social interaction! In a lot of ways, things haven't changed. I'm still the girl that loves a house full of people and lots of good conversation. But, in some ways, I couldn't be more different.

If I'm being honest, having children who have developed in an atypical fashion has left me feeling quite atypical myself. It's more than just the common complaints of motherhood like feeling out of touch or trying to communicate with burnt brain cells. There is an anxiety for me that comes with being around normal people with their normal children. I know the word "normal" is not politically correct, but it's true none the less. When you're lost in your own world, when you can't talk, when you can't stop moving, you are not normal. You are different. The politically correct word is atypical. And, when you care for someone so atypical, you feel different and not normal. Atypical. Well, at least I do.

I adore my family. They do an awesome job of loving and supporting us, and are always there when we need them. Over the past year, whenever we would plan family get-togethers at my parent's house, I started having a lot of anxiety leading up to the time we would meet. I think more than anything it has to do with seeing so clearly just how different our boys are. I long for Josiah and Jalen to interact with their cousins. I want so much for them to sit around the table and eat with everyone else. With seven cousins and three siblings, we have ten typical children who are growing and developing normally. And when the babies in the family passed Josiah and Jalen in development, it only served to make me more emotionally raw. I really don't want to be the spoil sport, the party pooper, the drag who cries at every function. Right now, my strategy for combatting this is to show up early. If I get there before the party starts, I tend to get the emotion over with. It's not ingenious, but it helps. I am determined not to let this spoil the joy I have in spending time with family.

This is me letting Jeremy know that I was having a hard time.

It has also become increasingly difficult for me to take those all too important breaks from time to time. I'm ok if Jeremy and I go out for a few hours, but, even then, dinner and a movie is about all I can handle before breaking out in a cold sweat. Leaving Josiah is just plain hard. The real anxiety comes when I have to go to functions by myself. Mind you this only happens a few times a year. It's the conversation that often gets to me. Autism is such a huge part of our lives that I find it hard to talk about anything else. I end up feeling awkward and tongue tied. We just had a lovely ladies Christmas dinner at our church last week. I had a lot of fun, but it wasn't without its bumps. I welled up with tears a few times, and sent several texts to Jeremy to check on Josiah. The important thing is that I went. It is therapeutic just going, and I ended up having an enjoyable evening.

This is Jeremy's thoughtful text back. I love him!
If you're a parent of a child with special needs, you may know just where I'm coming from. The amazing thing in all of this is that God is the giver of faith and He also created us to be emotional beings. It is natural to struggle with fear and anxiety at times, but the point is just that. We should struggle. It is when we allow ourselves to become paralyzed by our emotions, that we fail to trust in the giver of faith. We have to remind ourselves again and again that God has a purpose and a plan that we can't begin to fully grasp or understand right now. Feeling atypical is just one of the means of stretching us and molding us into the people and parents He want us to be.

2 Corinthians 12:9, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'"




  1. You nailed it. Thanks. Crying and praying. Love to the Verrois!

  2. I am a friend of Casey Bosley - that is how I discovered your blog. You write so eloquently of the struggle one has when your children have special needs. But it also made me think of my own struggle to be "in the world but not of the world". I find many situations to be more emotional than the general public find it. With God's compassion coursing through my veins, I feel others' hurt, fear, anxiety too accutely. Most movies that are intended to be funny are either too crude for me or very sad/hurtful. I guess I share this observation to say that there are many ways folks struggle with being in this world. Blessings to you as you walk with God on step at a time.

  3. I love you, my Daughter, and am so exceedingly proud of you!!

  4. Christen,

    This blog is a great help in understanding how the trials God has decreed are affecting you. Thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts. I'm sure that was not easy, but it was very helpful.

    Pastor B


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