The Comforts of Hugs, Swings and Hymns

My little son, not yet three, is not your typical little boy. But there are times that I forget that. Like when I hold out my arms and say “Hug,” and he says “Hug,” runs to me and wraps his arms tight around my neck. I’ve never heard the words “I love you” come from his lips, but he shows me that he does, and that he knows that I love him right back.

When we go to the park, I would love to hear the words, “Mommy, I want to go on the swing!” Instead, he grabs me by the hand and pulls me right to his seat of choice and says, “swing,” while lifting his arms up high. His whole body wiggles with delight. I sing to him while he revels in the back and forth motion, and I use the opportunity to practice “ready… set… (wait for him to say) go!” Or, we sing “School Days” and as we approach the lyric, “You wrote on my slate, I love you…” He says in his sweet voice, “JoJo.” Those moments are precious, and I know they are so fleeting as time marches on.

My most treasured times are right before bedtime when every once in a while Josiah takes a break from all the running around and the toys and wants to “sing songs” with mommy. He leads me to the rocking chair in his room, shuts off the light, and climbs in my lap. Lately, he keeps snuggling up even more into me, like he can’t get close enough as we sing for up to 30 or 40 minutes sometimes. My voice is nothing to write home about, but he will likely have great music talent one day–the way he is so drawn to anything that spouts a tune.

For some reason, the old hymns and ’80s praise choruses from my childhood come flooding back to me as I hold Josiah tight and rock him in the dark. So many years have passed since we’ve sung those songs in church, yet there is something so enduring about those words. And I guess they remind me of when I was a kid tight in my own momma’s grasp. Though a bit sketchy, the lyrics cross my lips and engage my spirit again. You might know the kind of songs I’m talking about: “O Victory in Jesus,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise,” and “As the Deer Panteth.” (You Baptists out there will recall the first two, and you Assembly of God-ers out there will pick up on the latter.)

Even those old songs keep reminding me that while I do what only I can do, I can trust God to do what only He can do for me, for my husband, and for our son. And, if you’re a parent of a kid with autism reading this, I’m trusting and praying for you too, for we all need a massive dose of hope and for our children to break free of the shackles of autism.

It’s hard some days, like when you see other little boys Josiah’s age carrying on conversations in the grocery store or saying the darndest things that kids say. You just wish that simply your kid was like all the “normal” kids–whatever “normal” is. But then, as a parent of a child with special needs, you realize he is yours. He is beautiful. He’s funny and happy. He is valuable. He is a uniquely made little person. And comparing him to what he is not will rob you of seeing what he is right now. And, with autism, I’m reminded that there is hope, and that he has come a long way. Josiah is worth fighting for and putting myself on the line for every day until we see breakthrough after breakthrough. I will carry on a great conversation with him one day! I just know it.

I heard about his healing. Of his cleansing power revealing. How he made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see. And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit.” And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory!


5 Responses

  1. Yes, the words of those old hymns are so… powerful. I often think, “I want to know Jesus like the hymn writers did!” Thank you for the words to Victory In Jesus. Just reading it is uplifting. The one that is always on the tip of my tongue is “‘Tis So Sweet to trust in Jesus… Jesus, Jesus. How I trust Him. How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er. Jesus, Jesus. Precious Jesus. Oh for grace to trust Him more!”

  2. My son sounds so much like yours. He gives the hugs without the words, but I know what he means. He takes my hand and leads me to what he wants. He loves listening to standard hymns (and is starting to sing some of the words). I could totally relate to this post, for I could have written it myself.

  3. oh Tahni, you are such a good writer. This post brought tears and a smile to my eyes. Tears because I am so sorry you are having to struggle through all of this with your blue-eyed beauty. A smile, because across the miles, I am singing 80’s praise and worship songs to my own kids too, probably exactly the same songs.
    Love you friend. Hug your boys for me.

    Lord, you are, more precious than silver.
    Lord, you are, more costly than gold.
    Lord, you are, more beautiful than diamonds.
    Nothing I desire, compares to You.

  4. Hang in there – all you are doing for him is building up and building up – and will bear more and more fruit some day. Much like how God invests in us. It may not “take” right away but it is never lost. Your little guy is listening and something in him will remember the singing and the stories – maybe not all the words or the tunes but his body will remember the hugs and his ears will remember your voice and his soul will remember the love you show him. You are doing the right things for your little one! What a wonderful Mom you are!!!!

  5. […] I want to always remember our last night in the hotel. We were the only ones in the pool at 11 pm, and we were waxing nostalgic about our church experience in childhood (she’s a pastor’s daughter). We laughed and laughed as we tried to remember as many 80s overhead-projector-friendly praise choruses as we could. We proceeded to sing them in the echoey room, vowing that we MUST pass these songs on to our kids. […]

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