He Talks to Angels
After nearly eight years of parenting an exceptional child I'm still amazed at how much I don't know about my child. It is a double-edged sword. I'd really like to say that most of the mysteries Ben still guards are like presents waiting under the Christmas Tree: when the moment is right, the paper and packaging come off revealing a shiny new ability that we can celebrate and rejoice.
The reality is that we walk on eggshells in regards to his curiosities hoping not to awaken the next big bad dragon that awaits underneath the darkness of the unknown. And although it is true that much of what we do know about Ben fits somewhere in the middle of those two poles it often seems that there is more bad than good that can happen at any given moment. Panic and anxiety reign supreme in our world.
One thing I have come to believe is that God gives these kids special gifts that we may never know exists. There is an occasional hint but human nature convinces us that it's all wishful thinking, and too bad. The opportunity to discover a new way to connect with this special child is lost. Since I'm the one most convinced of the reward Ben gains from painting I'm used to kicking human nature in the privates. This overgrown child is all about learning what special gifts and talents await under that tree!
And so this evening I bravely but convincingly reveal one of those gifts Ben has. I'm also suspect that it is a gift that most special needs children have and perhaps something that all children once had. Afterwards you can go ahead and call me crazy. But as you consider what I'm about to type keep in mind that most folks were once convinced that the world was flat just because somebody said so.
At bedtime last night Joan brought Ben up to cuddle with her and Jessie until I was ready to turn in for the evening. As usual Joan's been slammed at work and quickly fell asleep. When I came to bed I walked Jessie to her room and tucked her in. That left me and Mr. Big Eyes to share whispers of love and affection while The Sandman did his thing. At some point I awoke and looked over at Ben.
Ben was staring straight at the ceiling studying something intently. I rolled over and looked myself. One idle ceiling fan, two air vents. Just like normal. I looked back at Ben but this time he was laughing. Good. The joke's on me. Ben got me to look. So I grinned, scratched his head, and buried my head in my pillow once again in such a way that I could keep an eye on him.
Over the next half hour or so Ben continued the same pattern. He would get real quiet and watch the ceiling. Every now and then he'd mouth some words which were inaudible to me and then begin to laugh hysterically. Occasionally he'd turn toward me or Joan as if to check if we were seeing what he was obviously seeing.
Now I must admit that this was not the first time we've noticed this behavior. In fact looking back, Joan and I both noticed even in the NICU days that Ben seemed to be curious about something "above him." We've guessed in the past that it was fascination with lights until he did it in a completely dark room like last night. The theory that it is a vision defect hasn't been completely ruled out but his ophthalmologist doesn't think so. Is it just a clever imagination? Since we've never seen Ben play any other "make believe" games I would say that it is unlikely.
So what is it? Does he have a guardian angel who watches him and comforts him when he's vulnerable to fear? Last night he had several substantial seizures after he fell asleep. As apposed to our previous experiences Ben had a look of complete peace about him after they were over. Perhaps his grandfather, or great-grandparents, or a new friend who has arrived at their final destination are visiting with him just to remind him that he's doing well. Dare say that it is the face of God smiling at him and enjoying his personality like we do each night?
I don't know which of these scenarios is the exact one but something...someone is there. So last night I strained my eyes even harder than before. I said a prayer asking that I could see what Ben could see. I wanted to know that kind of joy in the midst of suffering and seizure. And I heard my answer way down in the depths of my soul. "Bennie, you're still not ready yet."
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
He Talks to Angels