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Huge little things

This is longer than I intended it to be, and far more personal. I’m always a bit reluctant to post about my real life, particularly about my kids.  After all, they didn’t choose to blog, I did.  And even with nicknames and vague descriptions, I’m still sharing about their private lives.   I particularly don’t want to share their struggles and their failures.  Love covers a multitude of sins, it doesn’t digitally preserve them for posterity.

However, I do want to share their triumphs and successes, as well some of our journey with sensory processing disorder.  Bulldozer, my seven year old is hypo-sensitive and sensory seeking.  He has low muscle tone, visual tracking problems and auditory processing disorder.  SPD is a spectrum disorder, and I know that his SPD isn’t as severe as it is for some, but he struggles.

Sometimes life is just getting through the day with neither of us melting down. His successes and triumphs don’t tend to be over the top “my kid made the honor roll, won the science fair, cured cancer.”   They’re little things.  But for us, they’re huge little things.

The first huge little thing was Friday night.  Bulldozer plays Little League kid pitch baseball.  He’s by far the least skilled player on the team.  His visual processing issues mean following the ball is hard.  His low muscle tone means he can’t hit very hard or run very fast.  And sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t try something else where he can have some success. Don’t ask me what that might be.    But Friday a huge little thing happened:   Bulldozer got a hit. Sure, he got thrown out at first, but it was a hit! A solid, in an actual game, hit! The celebration of his teammates and coaches was wonderful. He got lifted off the ground in a bear hug by a team mate, he got high fives all around, he got the game ball. It was a huge little thing.

The second huge little thing happened at church.  Because of his auditory processing and the particular sound environment of our church, Bulldozer has never participated in corporate worship.  By that I mean that the volume and quality of the music causes him anything from discomfort to actual pain.  We’ve tried noise canceling headphones, we sit in the least loud section of the sanctuary, letting him crawl under the chairs, holding my hands over his ears.  There were days it wasn’t so horribly loud and assaulting that we could manage a semblance of participation.  But the noise sent him into super sensory-seeking mode, which meant he had to be held, brushed, comforted, touched for 20-30 minutes. After which time he wasn’t in the best shape for class. And neither was I.

So I gave up.  It seemed the volume kept rising, and frankly I was just too exhausted and discouraged to keep trying.  For the last several, months we’ve usually just sat out the song service.   And I was beginning to wonder if my young son, who makes up songs to Jesus and sings while he plays Legos, would ever be able to participate in corporate worship, and what this prolonged separation was teaching him about church.
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To say this has been a source of stress in our family life would be an understatement.  Quite frankly, I was angry.  (Am angry? Still working that one out.)  I walk a fine line with my son’s disability.  I don’t expect the world to bend to his needs.  But as his mother, I am constantly striving to help him live as fully in the world as possible.   For him to be completely shut out of corporate worship because of the sound mix is…. frustrating. (Also, I’m a little sensory sensitive myself, particularly to sound. Specifically, I’m sensitive to  loud and high frequencies sounds.  So it’s possibly my desire to shoot out the speakers didn’t entirely stem from maternal love.)

Did I say this was about a success?  Oh yeah, I did.

Anyway, we made two adjustments.  One is that my husband, who is an amazing sound tech, sat in on a band practice and equalized the mix on the instruments, meaning the painfully high highs and low lows were evened out to a more even sound.  The second thing we did was get the song list (which again, my wonderful husband could get because he sat in on the band practice) and made it into a document for my Kindle Fire.  This allowed Bulldozer to follow along with the words.  There’s no way he can read the screen, but if I follow along with my finger, he seems to get the gist of the song.  No, he’s not a proficient reader, but for whatever reason, it helps.

Bulldozer and I went in to the sanctuary this morning first the first time in more than a month.  I was cautiously optimistic? Or grudgingly willing to give it one last try? Probably the later.  But we took our seats and waited for the music to begin.  It was less overwhelming. Not less loud, but definitely less of an assault, and Bulldozer didn’t flinch.  I pulled out my Kindle and gave it to him.  His sat up, holding the kindle in his hands and swaying to the music.  He  mouthed a few words as I followed along with my finger.  Not singing, exactly, but not hiding under the chairs, either.

Then we sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” the hymn we’ve been singing in our family devotions for the past two weeks.  He definitely sang along with that one.  For the first time in his life, Bulldozer was singing with the Body of Christ on a Sunday morning.  A seven year old boy singing a well known hymn in church is a little thing.  A huge little thing.

4 responses to “Huge little things”

  1. Carissa Avatar

    I get this. Really. I do.
    And I’m so thankful Ive already washed my face this evening otherwise a beautiful 6 year old singing about Gods faithfulness because his parents work so hard with who God has given them, would have seriously wrecked my eye makeup

  2. Robin Byus Avatar

    I’m so glad you shared this. Actually brought tears to my eyes. The music part of corporate worship is so important to me. I can’t imagine not being able to be a part of it. You are great parents to keep searching for solutions. Congrats on your son’s huge successes!

  3. April Avatar

    Thanks, ladies. Being a mama is hard work, but it’s such a privilege to be part of these breakthroughs. Yay, God! Yay, Bulldozer!

  4. Mary Avatar

    Beloved Daughter. I don’t now when, I don’t know how, but I know that God is and will turn this for good for you, for your little one, for your family and for many, many others who would never be touched otherwise. I am so proud of you. I Love you. PS, I am going to try to share this and ask that those I know who have connections with worship teams read it. Yay Bulldozer!

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