If you’re looking for a parenting resource that reads like a how-to book, that comes with a list of add-water-and-stir-guidelines and neat solutions, and that points the way to emulating the perfect life of the author, then Sand in My Sandwich is not for you. However, if you have a special needs child and wonder what it would be like to raise two children on the autism spectrum, if you are intrigued by the messy process of two very different individuals becoming one in marriage, or if you would be helped by a sensitive portrayal of a busy life conducted under the fog of clinical depression, Sarah Perry offers words for your heart. In a conversational, memoir-style account, Sarah reminisces about college days, her control issues, her career as a lawyer, her early married life, and the impact of her children’s diagnoses on their family.
Parents struggling to understand their own special needs child will see shadows of themselves in the Perrys and will feel sweet validation and relief when they read of Matt and Sarah’s daily battles with sibling wars, autistic “mind-blindness,” and the over-the-top challenges of simply feeding, clothing, and educating a child who happens to be autistic. The author relates her feelings of regret over days of perfectionism in which she measured her worth by her ability to manage all domestic matters perfectly. Some of the Perry family tales are hilarious, and Sarah’s glib sense of humor comes through in her analysis and descriptions. On the other hand, as the mother of four, my heart ached for Sarah in her struggles with day-to-day discipline, stress-eating and weight gain, sleep deprivation, and her tendency to soldier through difficulty without accepting much-needed assistance.
Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2011 and encumbered by an on-going battle with depression, Sarah speaks from her weakness and celebrates God’s strength. Scripture verses that address anxiety and trust in the Lord have been helpful in re-training her brain, and she shares God’s message of peace and comfort that fortifies her quavering spirit. We are rarely given the “why” behind any of the challenges that come into our lives, but Sarah has drawn comfort from the knowledge that she and her sons have been constructed by an all-knowing God “such that the works of God might be displayed in [them].”
This book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review.