I feel inspired to share one of the hardest and deepest and most heart wrenching struggles of my life. I hope that those reading this will understand the sensitivity and sacredness of this subject to me. Yet, for some reason, I feel that I must share this with you.
Beginning over 8 1/2 years ago I started to notice that my sensitive, loving, secure and brilliant 16 month-old son was changing. A once talkative and without-fear boy stopped talking, starting being afraid to being alone (even for a minute) and stopped eating everything in sight (instead he gaged on almost all his food). The worry of the young mother was discounted due to inexperience and sense that I was "over-reacting." After years of worry and the encouragement of my family, I started to get testing for my little boy. First came speech, then came psychologist, then PT, then school based testing.
Year after year I was told, "Hunter is special.... We really cannot put our finger on what is going with him.... He may be autistic.... He may have a learning disability.... We do not have any answers for you.... Well, let's put him on this med and that med even though it might not make a difference.... Oh, so that medicine isn't' making a difference, let's double the dose and add another one.... Since that therapy didn't work, we will try this.... Now let's get EEG's, EKG's, x-rays, full IQ testing, etc., etc., etc" The list was never ending and I kept asking myself, "Is all this stuff hurting him even more?"
Wonderful friends introduced to me methods new to me -- organic foods, special private tutoring with instruction on visual stimulus and whole body learning, music therapy, sensory integration techniques and on and on. My parents counseled me and fasted for us and prayed for us and received inspiration to help us. Yet, I still felt like I needed more answers and I needed to be able to help my son MORE.
The school system in MI was excellent for Hunter (PT, OT, speech, resource room, social groups, hand-selected teachers) but at times I thought to myself, "Is all this extra time that he is taken out of class benefiting him and helping him become an independent, socially adept individual?" Each area helped Hunter in many ways but still, we were missing something.
Then we moved to AZ -- which has been both a blessing and a challenge. We live in a little bit of paradise where we can enjoy the fresh and clean outdoors. Hunter has an amazing 4th grade teacher that shares much of my same concerns and has adapted his in-class education to fit his learning. But, due to budget restraints and limited resources, many of the vital aspects of Hunter's education has been withdrawn. No PT, no OT, no social groups and only supervision speech. I keep being told that Hunter is a smart boy that is too smart for the resource room but is still struggling with basic written language. So, we decided to get help for him out of the classroom. Three days per week tutoring and then driving 3 hours each way for an hour appointment with trained specialists. Each tip took Hunter out of his much needed school routine and class instruction.
I find myself crying more often than not when it comes to knowing what to do for my little man. As a mom, isn't my sole responsibility in life to protect and strengthen and enhance my child? Will this most precious child of mine grow to be a high function adult? Will he get a great job and be able to provide for himself? Will he have good friends? Will he be able to serve a mission? Will he be happy? What can I do now to help his future? Yet, each place I turn leads to unanswered questions and dead ends.
So, I have been praying -- praying for years and years in fact. Sometimes I find myself kneeling by his bedside while he is sleeping praying for him with all my faith and all my love. As a pear up at him through my tears, I feel deeply that he is a special spirit that was sent to me to love and help. I feel blessed everyday to be his mom. Yet sometimes I feel that I am failing miserably. Do I have what it takes to fight this big battle for my son? Am I the right person to have such a special responsibility? I plead to the Lord for strength and understanding beyond my abilities.
Last night was another one of those nights. I prayed and prayed to find answers and to be lead to make the right choices for him and for my family. Then came an answer that I have received several times. "Continue to pray, read your scriptures, speak softly and take the time to research your options."
This morning, during the usual Saturday early morning grading and email checking, I felt inspired to stop what I was doing and search the web. I typed in the address bar a very specific search and as soon as I opened the link, my eyes were drawn to a little paragraph. Immediately I started to cry. At first I thought, "what in the WORLD are you crying about now?" But almost instantaneous I realized that I was following the prompting of the spirit and was researching (just as I was instructed in my prayer last night) and I was given specific direction. I know that this Holy guidance, given my obedience and continued faith, will help my son.
I love you Hunter McKay! Thank you for choosing me to be your mom.