Have you ever waited for something for a long long time, fought for something until you were weary of fighting, or investing your life in something until it seems like it is all that consumes you? I know lots of us have.
I longed to have my children for 10 very long and seemingly never-ending years. I have fought for both children to recieve their diagnosis. I have fought for my son to receive the right educational environment to thrive. I have fought for basic adaptations to our home to allow my children to fully enjoy all that it has to offer. I have fought for help and support for both my children. And for the last two years I have been fighting for respite.
But with all this fighting, all this striving and pushing and waiting, what do you do when you finally get what you have been waiting for?
My children are here now.
They are now both diagnosed.
My son is in a fantastic school and doing well.
We now have railing and grips on both outside stairs and extra railings on each side of our inside staircase.
Both children have a co-ordinated support plan in place.
And would you believe it…we had a letter this week to say that starting from this weekend BOTH children will be receiving a few hours ‘respite’ each fortnight. Well, they are calling it a Sunday Club (well we would not want them to admit we actually need respite now would we?) but it is the same thing. This Sunday I get a few hours break.
So now what?
If your child has recently started school, or recently been diagnosed, or you have finally got the answer you have been waiting for for a long time it can be a time of real mixed emotions. Relief, delight, satisfaction, and possibly even joy. But it can also bring confusion, emptiness, a whole lot of questions and a feeling of overwhelming emotions. What do I do now? Where do we go from here? Will this be all that I was hoping it would be? How does this change things?
Take time to savour the moment. Take time to digest the news. And whatever emotions that brings, allow those emotions to come to the surface. It really is ok to get excited about a breakthrough. It is also ok to cry when you have finally reached that place you have longed for for years. It is ok to kiss the joiner who finally fitted your bannister because you know that finally your son can climb those stairs to his own room safely (so ok that might be taking things a bit too far but I did hug him)
It is ok to want to know more when your child is diagnosed. It is ok to want to frame that letter that says finally they will be getting the right support they deserve or get to attend the right school. It is ok to want to keep that positive pregnancy test when you have wanted a baby for so long, or want to frame the wedding certificate when getting married has been your life’s dream. It’s ok to hold those new house keys in your hand and have a silent moment of thankfulness.
But when the initial emotions settle and you are thinking what’s next? Now what? What do I do now?
Here’s my advice: Enjoy the rest. Enjoy the not fighting. Enjoy a period of things going good. Let the change settle down. Because if everything was always a fight, always a struggle and always a waiting game we slowly become sick. There will surely be more fights ahead. There will always be things needing doing around the house. There will be something else my children will need as time goes on. There may be things that are not quite right yet. I still need to secure the right support for my daughter starting school. My son is still not speaking. There are always loads of appointments still. I would love another child.
But right now I am savouring the taste of victory. It may only be for a few hours once a fortnight. But whatever they call it…it is respite.
I can actually taste that hot cup of tea…and after 5 years I will get to hear a church service…it’s true what they say ‘a longing fulfilled is a tree of life’
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Prov 13:12
If you are still waiting for that day of diagnosis, if you are still longing for that baby or husband or new job, if you are still dreaming of that bigger house…keep fighting! Keep believing! Never give up hope!
But celebrate the victories as you go along. Because without the fight you never really appreciate the victory. When I leave my longed for, beautiful, treasured children on Sunday I will give them both a kiss and a hug. And I might just kiss the respite workers too!
What now? Well who’s putting the kettle on?