Monday, May 13, 2013

I Am a Smorgasbord Mom

“Dominion and awe belong to God;
    he establishes order in the heights of heaven."
~ Job 25:2, NIV ~ 

I am a smorgasbord mom.  

You know what a smorgasbord is -- a large buffet with a wide variety of offerings.  Most of the time when you get into the line to serve yourself, you have no clue what you will end up with.  It might be a little of what you like and a lot of what you don't like, beautifully arranged and garnished with care.  Your plate may not be big enough to hold all that has been dished out for you.

Such is the life of a smorgasbord mom. It is a full display of often unwelcomed servings, beautifully displayed and garnished in the form of offspring and other family members.  The layout begins with perhaps an initial diagnosis.  That diagnosis can morph into another or several others.  Soon you have a child with "comorbid" conditions, multiple issues all setting up residence in the person you love at once.  The fun continues with another child bearing the weight of special needs.  Frequently, this loved one will represent a second helping of the first one's diagnosis...  Except when they don't.  This can mean a whole new set of issues, specialists and difficult directions in health care.  

The line at the smorgasbord isn't necessarily limited to two family members with multiple diagnoses.  It can include more children, a spouse, or an aging parent.  It leaves parents like us pulled in many, many different directions, feeling almost endlessly overwhelmed.  It's too bad there isn't any antacid served along with this buffet.

This is my life.  Thirteen years ago it changed forever with the diagnosis of Hemophilia A - Severe in our newborn son.  Little did we know that with his active bleeding pattern, his sweet demeanor would be changed by PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and generalized anxiety disorder as he grew.  When we had been guests at the "banquet" for only 2 years, our third child was born.  Early in her little life, things were amiss.  Ear infections would conclude with emergency room visits as she would react to antibiotics with continued intensity.  We tried rebuilding her immune system with organic products and raw milk, but that caused internal bleeding in her brother's digestive system that bought us a hospital stay.  After the allergies came the ADHD.  Of course, then there were the allergies to all of the oral medications we tried to treat the ADHD.  Next came the Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and the social deficits.  Most recently, others consulting with us are thinking Asperger's might be a more appropriate label.

The smorgasbord has continued with adults in our family.  Somewhere in those 13 years I had 4 knee surgeries in 2 years time, the last being a partial knee replacement.  Three of the 4 parents belonging to my spouse and I also passed away.  The one surviving parent has had repeated serious health issues and had to be moved to assisted living whilst having a home repaired, cleaned out and sold.  

I couldn't tell you how I have survived all of this, but by the grace of God.  Surely the Lord knows what He is doing when He sets out the banquet table.  And He certainly blesses with the sweet and the salty as well as the sour and bitter.  In fact, unless we step up to that table accepting helpings of that which we dislike, we will never have the opportunity to enjoy the much more wonderful parts.

There are also incredible byproducts of that smorgasbord.  While we may have so much information to consume and too many decisions to make, we find ourselves coming through with a wide base of knowledge, able to guide others with much wisdom and compassion.  We can navigate many things with much savvy.  Our perspective is completely changed.  While others are getting uptight about life's minor things, we know better.  We appreciate God's simple gifts like no others.

Yes, being a smorgasbord mom is a unique special needs journey in and of itself, but our Sovereign God still has control over it.  He makes order out of our chaos.  I know I am not the only parent who goes through this.  I serve too many who have more than one child on the autism spectrum or several kids with different diagnoses.  And because I walk this path, I pray that I can encourage others to rest secure in knowing that if God has brought us to it, He will bring us through it.

PRAY:  Lord, even though I am dealing with many things at once, I know that you are a God of order.  I trust that you will make sense of our chaos.  You alone make beauty from life's challenges.

Photo Image Courtesy of 123RF


  1. Beautiful prayer- its so easy to get overwhelmed- but He will make sense of our chaos- someday- :) Blessings in your journey and thank you for sharing!!! hugs

  2. Thank you for your words bringing clarity to my chaos. So much is so bitterly sour that finding the sweet is precious. The abiding grace of God nourishes my soul.