It feels like we’ve been here before. The meltdowns, medicines, medical issues, doctor appointments; they are starting again. It’s a familiar sinking feeling I get in my head and gut. This time, at least I know some of the warning signs of the coming storm. I see the look in my son’s eyes; a shaking of his head. Quick, get him away from the multitude of public stares. A family member said to me, “I thought we were past this?” The Special Needs Déjà Vu, I feel it.
Just when we thought the medicines had some of the needs under control, they didn’t. I was told at the onset of this condition, by another “been there” parent, “just when you think you have it figured out, you don’t.” Truth. Back to the doctor. Which means facing another change. A big change. I’ve said it before, we don’t do change very well. (Which in turn sends us back to paragraph one. The storm.) Here it comes, that Special Needs Déjà Vu.
Typically developing kids usually grow and learn in a linear pattern. They master a task and move on to the next milestone. Maybe it’s even by trial and error, but they move on and don’t look back. Our kids, our special needs kids, they tend to do things cyclically, or recurring. One step forward and two steps back. Sometimes we get leaps of two steps forward and only one step back. But we still tend to repeat stages. What we think we’ve moved past or outgrown comes back again and again. Maybe it’s to a lesser degree, we hope, but we get that ‘been there, done that’ feeling a lot. We see the same issues often throughout our children’s lives.
Special needs déjà vu can be a little like a song on repeat. We hear the same song over and over. And learn it well. We know all the words. Sometimes we hear a live version or someone else sings it and it changes just a bit. But it’s mostly the same song. We can envision how these days are going to go just like the words of a song.
God tells us there are seasons for everything (Eccl.3). I used to think these seasons were just something we passed through, something we were kindof forced to experience whether we liked it or not, and then we graduated and moved on to the next milestone. Seasons of weeping and mourning, who wants to go through these times? Just get through them quickly so we can get back to the loving, laughing and dancing seasons. Those are the seasons we want to live in. (Except no one really wants to see me in my dancing season. Think Elaine from Seinfeld.)
As special needs families we spend a lot of time learning to mourn and weep and heal. We get sent back here often. It’s cyclical or déjà vu all over again. We get really good at these seasons. But, maybe in the déjà vu is where we find the eternity that God has set in our hearts (vs. 11)? We start to long for more than what this world has to offer. Longing for the cure that only God can give. We start to crave the love and laughter and dancing that is fulfilled through his presence. Maybe this special needs déjà vu is actually a great reminder every time I’m there to go to God first and not look for only worldly answers.
Maybe this déjà vu is God’s blessing in disguise? It’s where he continually brings me back to him time and again.
My husband and I are parents of all boys. One of whom is a young adult with both physical and intellectual disabilities. I don’t always know what I’m doing as I parent these guys. But what I do know is God is teaching me big things through our trials that I probably would have never learned without them. You can find more from me at www.mostlyeandme.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @stefmckeever.