Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Joshua's Disconnection

Joshua, age eight, in the bottom right of the photo, off to the side.

Early on, I wrote about Joshua's birth and his illness. All the ear infections, attacks of bronchitis, colds and viruses stemmed from his autoimmune disease, ankylosing spondylitis. Something he wasn't diagnosed with until age fifteen. Top that off with being born hyper sensitive, and you've got a needy child.

Remember Joshua's box of journals I wrote about on the first post? A few days before Mother's Day, I decided to read some of his writings. What I found shocked and saddened me, but Joshua's childhood made sense now.

Within a note to his therapist, he wrote, "I have never felt connected to anyone." I gulped. No one?

Our family knew Josh depended on me more than the average child. To be honest, Joshua tested my patience and endurance. I thought it was because of his illnesses for he rarely felt well. Did his illnesses disconnect him from people, when Mama would only do? And what about the times when even I couldn't calm his wails?

He had bouts when I couldn't put him down. He'd miserably rub his ear or make a fist and swipe at his endless runny nose. To cheer us both, I'd place him on my hip and we'd vacuum. He relaxed to my swaying motion and the sound of the motor. The hum lulled him to sleep. I tell ya, I had the cleanest carpet on the block.

When I needed both hands, like mopping the floor, Joshua's big sister took him on wagon rides during nice weather. Sometimes, she came in with a shriveled look, and said, "Mom, he still isn't happy."

I'd look up to heaven, and think, Ah, dear Lord, what am I going to do?

Even when Joshua appeared well, he didn't like me leaving him with his daddy while I grocery shopped. I fretted the whole time, because I knew when I came home, Joshua would be in Daddy's arms at the dinning room window. I'd pull into the driveway and the first thing I'd see were the sobs on Joshua's unhappy face. By the time I got into the entry way, my husband would say, "There's Mama."

Joshua would giggle and dive for me. I'd kiss his sweet, wet face and we'd snuggle, while the other family members brought in and put away the groceries.

Are people born feeling disconnected? I know some need few people in their lives. Some folks need a whole crowd around them. Joshua needed only close loved ones, and when he felt well, he needed a crowd.

This is my mother's heart trying to discern the truth. A mother who misses even the difficult times with her son, and is grateful for the blessing of having him for twenty-five years.

After that first experience into Joshua's box of journals, I'll read his writings in small bites. Prayers on my lips for courage, I'll know when to take a break.

Until next time, dear readers,. . . know I am praying for your loved ones as you've requested.

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