This week I had an uncharacteristic “panic attack.” Not in the clinical sense, but in the “I’m on the verge of worry-tears any second now” sense.
I have a no-nonsense, bottom-line, cut-to-the-chase personality. A little abrupt at times, which served me well as a Naval officer, but parenting a child with autism? Not so much.
I’m not prone to excess emotion, but not cold either. Some really neat people like me, and I take great comfort in that. I love apologetics. I’m not a wringing-of-the-hands worry-wart. But my SON, our one-and-only child, is graduating from high school a week from Wednesday. And after a one-hour choir practice of singing God’s praises and affirming His sovereignty (“Who holds the winds in His hands? Have you not heard? Do you not know?”), I found myself shaky and nervous and downright worried in the church parking lot.
Being the analytical sort, I asked myself, “Peggy, where is this coming from?” And it took me awhile to figure it out. NOT that he’s moving from DC to Beacon College in FL. Not the empty nest thing …. Could it be a loss of control thing? Am I a control-freak in lamb’s clothing? Casting about, I recalled the story hubby told me the day before that I think was the root of my almost-tears.
Dan had a technology assist visit with the VA Department of Rehabilitative Services to be introduced to apps he could use on his iPhone and iPad to keep him organized in college. This was a good thing! They had contacted Dan directly, and we advised him how to reply and when to set up the appointment. So naturally, Jim dropped him off for a one-on-one session. It was scheduled to last 90 minutes, and Dan was supposed to call his dad when he was finished. Jim got the call in 30 minutes. Bad sign. And the DRS advisor was waiting to talk to him.
Dan would not cooperate. He kept coming up with reasons why he did not want the apps. He didn’t need an electronic schedule, he always used a printed agenda in high school. He had told her the apps might be too expensive, but refused even the free ones. She was gentle and persistent, but he was adamant, and NOTHING was accomplished. Unable to make any headway at the scene, Jim talked Dan through it on the way home, and it turned out Dan was worried about the apps taking up too much room on his device that would limit the number of movies he could download! If Jim had been in on the session, he could have sussed this out of him on the spot, but Dan couldn’t communicate his concerns directly to the counselor. Jim needed to be there to TRANSLATE – we speak his language – but we’re not going to be “there” anymore. And I started to splash around in worry. How many misunderstandings will there be? How will he be able to communicate? Then I guilt-tripped that I was sinning by worrying!
I don’t know if I’m over this yet; after all, graduation is looming ever closer. It helped a little just to identify the source of my worry. And I DO know Who holds the winds in His hands. And a dear friend’s words keep reverberating in my head (words written by Emily Colson who got them from a dear friend): “Peggy, God speaks Dan’s language.” And, oh my soul, He’s the BEST translator.
~ Danz Mom, Peggy