Shared by Missy Fisher - SFTT Content Author
I thought about what you, my reader, would want to know about me. I searched my memory for content relatable and interesting enough to keep your attention. I finally realized that my honesty, vulnerability and authenticity would be sufficient enough. After all, I have always worried about if I truly was ENOUGH. I spent a lot of my life attempting to "measure up" to other people's standards and spent a lot of time trying to "fit in" with everybody else. Deep inside I knew my heart called out for more than the life I was experiencing, but often sought the wrong things for that craving. From struggling with weight, to struggling with marriage, I've spent too much time trying to "figure myself out" and not ever getting anywhere. Trying to find fulfillment in relationships, friendships, significant others, family, work, social media, children, my appearance, alcohol and the nightlife led me only to dead end roads that appeared as happiness but lacking the promises of it.
The truth is, I've messed up way more times than I've gotten it right. I fought hard to depict an image of a person I never truly was and still felt just as empty inside. I decided to break the facade of the "perfect life" and share my journey, my struggles and my failures so that maybe you feel a little more human too. So if you've stumbled across this page by accident, I hope and pray you'll stick around for laughs, absurdity, sharing grief, but most of all, finding hope. And I look forward to finding out where that takes you.
Reflections and Revelations
As the cool autumn breeze brushes past my shoulders, I sit reflecting on Colton's annual VCFS (Velocardiofascial syndrome/DiGeorge Syndrome) appointment. I remember the cold, gray walls and the plush, indigo chairs in the psychologist's office. "This is not my regular office," the psychologist said. Toys were scattered throughout the room, stored in clear, rectangular Tupperware bins. Clearly a lot of "evals" took place here, with instruments of distraction to keep the kids busy.
The psychologist—balding, but poised with soft eyes behind thin rimmed glasses—measured his words carefully as he spoke. "Colton has an IQ of 70. That's one notch above cognitive impairment, or otherwise known as mental retardation."
The Impact of Information
"What does that mean for his future?" I asked. As I had already prepared myself for this conversation, I added, "When he is 30, it will be as if he is 25, or when he is 40, it will be as if he is 35. Correct?"
From this point forward, everything seemed to go in slow motion. The psychologist hesitated before responding, and when ready to reply, he took a deep breath. Folding his hands gently in his lap, he said, "Kids who are cognitively impaired usually grow within the capabilities that their mind allows, and then they tend to plateau." My mind wandered as I searched my mental dictionary to understand what his vocabulary had meant. Unsure if it was the distraction of Colton asking the same question for the third time, or if it was my inability to process information by the end of the day, I asked the psychologist to clarify. "Colton's brain will reach the level of a 14 or 15 year old boy, and then it will stop growing. He will learn new vocational skills that interest him as he gets older, but his cognitive function will stay as that of a teenager."
I got quiet. I could feel tears well up in my eyes as they stung to be released. Hold it together, Missy. You're almost done with the appointment.
Trapped in Time
My head was suddenly filled with a million miniature thought-balls, bouncing around like an arcade game. I remember holding back tears so strong I felt as though I was going to suffocate. I looked at Colton, smiling and excited to stare out of the large rectangular glass window that displayed rows of parked cars three levels below. I listened (or pretended to) the best that I could, and hurried to my vehicle to process it all.
It wasn't that I was shocked to find out that Colton is borderline mentally retarded. And it wasn't that I don't love and adore the Colton who wakes me up (often at wee early hours of the morning) with a huge smile and enthusiastic excitement that he gets to start a brand new day. What pierced me the most was the reality that as Colton gets older, his mind will be trapped in time and he won't understand the world for what it really is. In a sense, Colton will be imprisoned mentally with the inability to escape, and there is nothing I can do for him as his mom.
The Gift of Each Other
But this isn’t where the story ends. The bible says that God has plans for me, and for Colton, plans for a future filled with hope. Through His Son Jesus, I have an eternity where Colton will be free from the imprisonment his mind lives in today and I cling to that promise many, many days when life is hard for us. As Colton’s mom, I know that God did not make a mistake in giving us each other. I see more now today how blessed I am that I get to observe the world in a different, special (Colton) light.
Lord, thank you for my son Colton, and all other special needs children who bless our lives tremendously. I ask that you would meet with each reader as they read this story and whisper your promises to them of HOPE in their most desolate places. I ask in faith that you would do ABUNDANT things in the lives our children—more than we could ever ask or dream. I ask that more importantly, you would do abundant things in our hearts as we care for them. I ask all of this in the faithful, precious name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Missy is one of SFTT's Content Authors and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.