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.

  4 comments for “Sundays

  1. Candi
    December 1, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Oh Megan, you should never feel bad about doing what you feel is right for your family and your child! Whether Jack goes to church is between you as his parents and the Lord – and nobody else. And you said it right – Jack isn’t accountable, and thus, doesn’t need church in the same way the rest of us do. I have two children with ADHD (one with severe anxiety/behavior disorder), two more who will most likely eventually be diagnosed (they are too young for an official diagnosis right now but one is already showing symptoms) and a husband with ADHD, and church is not easy for us. I love reading your blog because you give me hope, and you share your humor, and reading about your experiences helps me feel like I’m not quite so all alone in this world of caring for children with special/different needs.

  2. allison
    December 2, 2014 at 9:16 am

    My son had a massive meltdown on Sunday morning that left him sick to his stomach. My husband ended up taking him home after Sacrament Mtg. The Lord knows our hearts and especially our children. He knows that you need to be renewed every week. How can that happen if you can’t have a quiet moment?! Your boys sure are blessed to have an angel mother!

  3. Lacey
    December 2, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Oh man I just love you. I needed to hear every word of this and wow, thanks for the shout out! The paragraph about always wondering if you could do more is spot on. I threw a full on tantrum today because Emme couldn’t just eat one freaking bite of Mac and cheese. I thought “can’t we just have lunch like a normal family?” The answer is no because we aren’t normal and it’s ok that my child survives on milk and junk food right? Probably not to most people, but it’s how we function. Atleast that’s what I’m going to tell myself.

  4. Louise Plummer
    December 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    My mother had nine children and she never went to Sunday School (this is when the meetings were split). She stayed home with the baby and cooked potroasts. It allowed her some much needed time to herself. (Well almost to herself). Our ideas about being at every church meeting with all of our children is bizarre. THREE HOURS of church. I can’t stand it myself. THREE HOURS. Why do we not question this long stretch of meetings? I think it creates much more family tensions than it helps.

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