The history of my super atypical family at church is long and storied, though not really in a good way. After ten years of extreme behavior problems, failed attempts at attending Primary, and multiple rejected special helpers, Jack currently doesn’t go to church.
While some likely wouldn’t be, we are at peace with this arrangement.
Here is what we know: Jack struggles at church. His parents struggle to handle him at church. Teachers and helpers have struggled with Jack at church. But (and this is the crux of it) Jack is unaccountable and really doesn’t need church like the rest of us. Frankly, we are hoping he will sneak us into heaven, since that is where he is going.
I still have hope that at some point, Jack’s development and behaviors will allow him to be at church in a positive way. Meanwhile, he has a sitter during sacrament meeting so we can attend as a family, and Dutch and I take turns staying with him during Sunday school and priesthood/relief society.
Some people might feel that we aren’t trying hard enough to help Jack succeed on Sundays like typical children. I used to wonder this myself, though I honestly didn’t know how we could possibly try any harder than we were.
The funny thing about special needs parenting is that even when you’ve exhausted yourself in every way as you attempt to help your child function more normally, you always wonder if you could do more.
Anyway, I’m glad that God knows our struggle and understands Jack and our family. I don’t have to explain it to Him.
If you want to read the most delightfully honest and lovely story of another family with another type of special needs child, check out my darling friend Lacey’s recent blog post. Here she writes of Sabbath heartbreak and disaster, but also sweetness and miracles.
Jack and Emme are children of God too, differences notwithstanding.