It was quiet.
I had no reason to trust that it would last.
There is a part of me that goes numb on nights like this, weeks like this one. My tired brain just can’t yawn open wide enough to let it all in.
My precious son; he is gentle of spirit. He his joy. He is breathtaking beauty. With all the challenges he faces in an ordinary day, he does not give up. But one would never imagine that this 190-pound linebacker of a guy would have a body that is so extraordinarily sensitive to change. One simple tweak of his diet, and the plates of the universe can shift. Riots and looting break out, as if the world were coming to an end right here our living room. Autism, which is not who my son is but what he has, can be relentless.
In our quiet house, my ears still rang from the sounds and fury as if I had developed tinnitus. My shaking legs could go no further, and I dropped to my knees before the overstuffed chair in the corner of my kitchen. This is where I kneel when I need to mainline prayers. This chair belonged to my mother, and to her mother before that. When I pray here it reminds me that I am tethered to something bigger than myself.
I dropped my head down and pulled my long blonde hair forward around my face like a fence. This is not our normal, I protested as I put my hands over my face. And then I sank even lower into the reality, into the truth, that…sometimes…this is our normal. These are not the postcards we send others from the journey. I pressed my hands hard into my face and whispered words I never allow to leave my lips, I don’t want to do this again.
One-word prayers slowly rose upward from my bruised and bewildered heart, like a bubble from a deep-sea diver.
I kept my head buried in the chair to block out the world, to stay below the surface. And then something happened.
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