For instance, when Matt was around 16, his voice began changing. This was a disturbing development for him and his way of dealing with it was to shout everything.
So I sat him down and did the best I could to explain what was happening. He listened attentively and said “Let me sink about it.” (“Th’s” were a problem back then.)
About 30 minutes later, he returned, sat in the chair beside me with a serious look and announced . . . “I’m getting a man’s voice. I’m gonna need a wallet.”
As we left for the store, I was thinking that was an encouraging conceptual leap for him . . . and I remember thinking that it held some important clue to the way he processed things.
The biggest change Matt ever had to process was when “we” married Steve. In 1997, after 10 years as a divorced mom of 4 … and a lot of 3-date relationships (even really nice LDS guys don’t generally sign on for the special needs thing) … an old friendship became something so much more. We made plans to marry in June 1998.
As things progressed toward the wedding date, I tried to explain that soon Matt and I would be living in Steve’s house. He was enthusiastic about Steve and the wedding . . . but became very upset whenever I mentioned moving from our home to his.
We spent a lot of time with Steve and his daughter who still lived at home, but Matt’s feelings about actually moving there remained negative to say the least.
We decided that Matt and I should stay a weekend with Steve and his daughter. We took over his guestroom and spent a great two days having all kinds of fun together at the nearby park and then going to church with them. It couldn’t have gone better.
So I was surprised when, as I started our car to go home, Matt’s face suddenly crumpled and he broke into inconsolable sobbing. “OK, OK,” he managed to say. “You can marry Steve and we’ll live here.”
I was already quite touched, but then he added with louder sobbing . . .
“But I’m really gonna miss my bed and all my toys and the dog . . .”
It had never occurred to me that he didn’t understand we’d be bringing all our things with us. Even as I hurriedly reassured him on this point, I felt myself moved to tears by the love such self-sacrifice represented. I try to remember that moment whenever I’m called to sacrifice for him.
Stephen Covey wrote . . . “We do not see other people as they are. We see them as we are.” Yet each mind is its own world and there is danger in making assumptions. We need to watch out for that … with everyone.
That being so, the everyday endeavor to decode the thought process of our special ones becomes yet another way they educate and bless us.