Practicing with Children

Traffic Jams and Mixed Blessings

img_1875By Miranda Grummon

Our household runs on schedules and plans.  I think we would anyway to a point, but when one member of the family is on the autism spectrum, the need to operate on a pre-determined schedule is even more necessary.  So, we plan and write down our son’s schedule each day.  Of course, things must change sometimes, but with advance warning, he has gotten better about handling those changes.

Except when he doesn’t handle it so well.  Anxiety attacks and meltdowns sometimes are our family’s reality.

This particular day was going to have several moving pieces, but nothing that a good schedule couldn’t handle.  Our car was in the shop for some scheduled maintenance and would likely be ready towards the end of the day….during rush hour, but that was going to be okay.  Really!  We would go and get the car, and still be able to get back home, feed the boys a quick dinner, have one of them change into his Cub Scout uniform, send the boys off to big brother’s den meeting, and get mom to another meeting.  It was going to be a bit tight, but it would work.

Except that it didn’t.

Rush hour lived up to its reputation.  The car place was slow in getting us checked out.  We were still going to be ok, though.

Except that we weren’t.

The next thing I knew, I-35 had turned into a parking lot.  Accident – maybe a half-mile or so down the road.   The time started ticking away, and soon it was apparent that our carefully-planned schedule was falling apart.  Everyone was going to miss most or all of their meetings, dinner would be late, and this could get ugly.

Except that it didn’t.

Both boys were amazingly calm at the news that they would be very late to the den meeting.  The Cub Scout even suggested that, since he would likely miss most of the meeting, he could just not go, come home and eat dinner, and read with Dad.

We passed the accident scene, and one car especially was not in good shape at all.  We took the opportunity to pray for the folks involved, and we talked about how our schedule getting messed up, although annoying, was nowhere close to what these people on this highway were going through this day.  We finally got home, and I got to watch my boys eat dinner and relax while Dad read Chronicles of Narnia to them.

This could have been a day that ended with high levels of stress, anxiety, and hurt feelings.

Except that it wasn’t.

Who knew that a huge traffic jam and missing a couple of meetings as a result would be a worshipful experience?

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