I intended to have Theo with me all throughout his big brother's school-led Sunday service. The church running the school had no special needs ministry.
Somehow, as we approached the children's area on our way to the sanctuary in the second floor, I had an inkling to try it out. Once again.
Three years ago during a visit, my husband and I tried to leave Theo in the church's Children's Ministry. And it did not go well.
Our parent beeper was a constant source of distraction. My husband had to go down the first floor a couple of times halfway the Sunday celebration.
Less than an hour in the service, with the incessant buzzing and tiring visit to the Children's Ministry back and forth, my husband decided to check out my son and play with him outside.
Some more failed attempts at inclusion in Children's Ministry and we have decided it was not the right place for our son. Not yet.
I held my breath and let out a deep sigh. I weighed my options and decided to give the Children's Ministry a try. It was the better option for the two hours I would be into my firstborn's school activity. Just that two hours.
I was on my own. My husband had to report to work. And the only other choice I had was to be there for my firstborn with a pretty divided attention, a default if Theo's Children's Ministry stint did not work out.
I approached the registration area. After letting the volunteers know about Theo's special needs, one of them briefed me about the pick-up and drop-off system.
She also reminded me to put my phone on a vibrate mode, just in case they needed me.
I said my goodbye to Theo. He was busy picking up a chair to sit. A volunteer suggested he sit next to the last occupied seat.
"Ahhhh," Theo obliged reluctantly and gave me a pity-me look. "Bye, Mom."
At the Sanctuary, the image of a vibrating phone haunted me. I was constantly checking my phone, distracted by the thought that my youngest was having difficulty in the first floor.
Fifteen minutes. Thirty. Forty-five. One hour.
One hour of no emergency call. I put my phone down.
And another stretch of one hour. No call.
My firstborn was in front with his schoolmates, rendering a doxology to close the program.
I picked up my things after taking a few pictures and descended to the first floor.
Theo was with a volunteer standing by the registration counter with a notebook and a pen. He did not look upset or troubled to me.
"He did so well," the volunteer informed me happily.
Theo's eyes lit and jumped when he saw me.
"Mom, where's Kuya (big brother)? Is he okay? I'm worried about you and Kuya. Did you have fun?"
I nodded and hugged him. I told him his big brother was waiting at the Sanctuary.
And the area's banner text Promise made more sense to me.
I could see some promising light right there, in the middle of the autism tunnel.
If you are interested in reposting or reprinting one of my posts, please check out my Permissions Policy page. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.