We surprised him.
He didn't come when they called him so we followed them to his door. They knocked, then turned the key to open his door because door #4 is always locked from the outside. I immediately saw him lying on the floor counting football cards. He's covered with the handmade quilt Amy Bradley's mom gave him years ago.
He looked up and said "oh." "OOOOOHHH" and jumped up and came running- "momeeee- daddeeeee."
|so glad to see each other|
We hung out in his room. I opened his blinds and checked out the alarm sensor that was replaced after his AWOL incident. I asked what he learned, he said he didn't know and then asked what AWOL meant. When asked again, he made me proud telling us he learned "not to go out the window 'cause you're not supposed to, whether the alarm goes off or not."
He walked behind me and put the blinds down- explaining it was against the rules to have the blinds up. Then he walked up to me and said, "I'm starting to believe it." Believe what, I asked. "That you love me"
|Love kissing his head |
Well people, I wanted to do a happy dance right there, but I contained myself and cupped his face in my hands. I looked at his Daddy for strength- and then told him eye to eye that we have been praying that he would believe it. I reminded him of his worth and value, not just to God, but to us and in our family. And I showed him the Face Book event- Covering Elijah in Prayer- and explained that there are nearly 100 people praying for him to believe it. And with his face in my hands and his eyes drawn to the floor, I told him that I was wrong when I told him it wasn't too much for him. It is too much for him. And it's too much for us. We can't do this in our own strength, God wants us to pray and ask Him to help- and we can in His strength. And he cried. And I wiped his tears and held mine back.
We've been praying for Elijah to receive love.
There was silliness, of course. It is Elijah. Then, there was a lot of loving. And hugging. And it felt so good to have him in our arms.
|Daddy photo bombing, ha ha! |
|Always trying to get the laugh |
He made his bed and made sure everything was put away before walking us to the door. And we walked out feeling hopeful- until the phone call telling us he was upset and throwing chairs and screaming and disrupting his peers. The call that gave us news but no power to change it.
And for a bit, instead of it sinking in and watering our souls our hope ran right through us like water on hardened soil.
We got up this morning frustrated with our lack of power and the back and forth of logical versus emotional thoughts. We arrived at Vision House for our family session- and just seeing his curly, unbrushed hair through the front door glass brings excitement to these parents who miss him so much.
We talk with the clinical director and get the first impressions of his psychological evaluation and diagnoses. We are surprised with their findings and at first are tempted to get back on the merry go 'round of here we go again. And then we remember that was one reason for all of this, a true picture of where he is now. And we listen and try to take it all in- resetting our mental state to prepare ourselves for life ahead and the talk turns to the plan for when he comes home. And she calls him to joins us.
And we have a good session and see a bit into his heart and his hurt. We see him react with uncertainty about the safety in telling his real feelings. And I watch his baby piggies almost as big as mine now, shuffle in and out of his flip flops (much like me when I'm anxious) when he answers what he needs from us. His answers seem so simple but so hard to say out loud.
And then, we're surprised when she asks if we'd like to take him to lunch. UH, DUH, YES! And we ask if we can keep him long enough to replace his shoes that are way too small and it's weird asking for permission. We sign him out and we can't get out of there with him fast enough.
|FREE for a few hours |
The first few minutes in the car are weird, and he says it with his giggle. We enjoy a great afternoon with our son---eating pizza, pulling a loose tooth, picking out the shoes he has wanted for more than a year and finishing it up with his favorite chocolate shake from Chick-Fil-A. He was awed by the huge fish and why the fountain doesn't overflow in the rain. And we are happy with each time he thanked us, showed appreciation and respect; even grinning slightly and saying okay
when we say no to his request to play Mine craft on our phones at lunch.
|New shoes, new socks from Isaiah and Mommy grabbing more hugs |
|He said he wished it would just come out so he could eat, so I pulled it. |
|Enjoying the fish at Short Pump |
Randomly and quietly he confesses that he just wants to go home. We tell him again this is a temporary process and promise that he is coming home. We tell him that he is ours and we love him no matter what. We remind him Fresh Start isn't about us giving up on him. And we assure him that while he is there thinking about home and missing us, we are home missing him.
And we're fearing the goodbye because Rex and I have spent the afternoon looking at each other, and him, and saying to each other without words over and over how it would just be so much easier to go home. We could be in Roanoke before they suspected a thing.
We were reminded today that life with our son will most likely never be easy. Progress may be two days of struggle instead of five. But the hard is where the blessings and answered prayers are hidden and we've come too far to stop now.
We said our goodbyes to our brave son and fist bumped to his courage and we walked out the door. Again.
And our minds and mouths are racing as we talk about progress and answered prayers and unexpected diagnoses and what to do next and when we think he might come home- will it be by Halloween because he wants to Trick-or-Treat with his brother and did he fake us out today or did he really mean the thank yous and it was nice to see his manners and it seems like progress but why does our stomach still hurt when that door shuts behind us and will she really get fired for calling him a name last night and they were having mixed vegetables for dinner and he hates those and why can't he drink anything but water and does it matter and will the other peers steal his new socks because he's worried they will and oh my goodness how will we get through this and will he ever truly believe his worth.
Lord, we believe, help our unbelief.
And on the radio, Gold City starts singing...
never too broken to belong
never to wounded -never too far gone
and where you find Jesus and find your home
you're never too broken to belong...
..He knows how you feel...by the wounds of our redeemer we believe we were healed
you're never too broken to belong.
And we agree to rest in Hope, again.
Happy Monday y'all!