It started as a cold, but sunny, beautiful December morning. I woke up thinking about my mother's problems, which I won't get into detail about. I called her before I went to bed to see how her day went so it was the last thing on my mind before I went to bed. Let's just say, I'm concerned about her physical and mental health. She is being too stubborn to do anything about either one, but she doesn't mind complaining to me about both. She won't go to the doctor, she won't take anything over the counter that could possibly conflict with her prescribed medications. I don't get it. But, there isn't much I can do about it. I have my own issues to deal with so I have to let it go for now.
Not long after both boys were off to school, the phone rings. It's a school district number. Great! Who forgot what...I think to myself. The numbers have all changed this year, so I don't know them by heart. What I do know is that there is usually an issue, a problem, or a challenge of some sort to go along with the ringing telephone. It turns out that Cole is in need of a breathing treatment because he's wheezing. He'd only been at school for maybe an hour. I guess he didn't notice any tightness in his chest before I dropped him off. If I were an organized mom, I would have filled out the form and had his doctor sign it so that the nurse could give him the breathing treatment. Organization is not one of my gifts. I dash around looking for his extra tubing for the nebulizer, and/or for his extra inhaler. I find neither. I run over to the school and administer the medication myself. I do take the time to fill out the form and fax it to the doctor so that the next time...I don't have to make the trip.
I come back home to clean myself up to run errands. As I am making my way out the door, the phone rings again. It's the school district. What now? This time it's the middle school -the school psychologist no less. "I'm just calling to share information about a long conversation that I had with your son this morning." When it rains...you know the rest! This conversation took place with the campus police officer. They are trying to make him understand that he can not keep bothering (basically harassing) this other student, because she will no longer be his friend. The Psychologist hoped that the officer's presence would make an impact on his thinking. However, she's afraid that it didn't. "I am really beginning to believe that he can't help what he's doing. He does not have the ability to just let it go." At the same time, if he doesn't he could find himself having a real problem. As time goes on and he is in high school, or in a work environment, he will have to realize that he can not control other peoples thoughts and feelings, much less how they behave and whether or not they want to be friends or anything else with him. It's like he's living in his own world and he wants everyone else to live in it. You know that Frank Sinatra song, "My Way" well, that's the way he wants everything, despite the fact that it is impossible.
Well... thanks for calling to share! You've just made my day! I'm wish I had a solution for you and for my knucklehead son, but I don't. I can not reach inside his brain and turn a switch to make him more reasonable. His therapist hasn't been able to, neither has his teacher, and neither have you obviously! She wasn't calling me for answers, just to keep me inform, which I really appreciate. Well...sort of.
The problem is, that he can not wrap his mind around why this young lady has just decided not only to not be his friend anymore, but she doesn't speak to him and continues to be friendly to everyone else. "I didn't do anything wrong." Which of course, is debatable, but it doesn't matter. He didn't have to do anything wrong for the girl to simply change her mind. Isn't that a girls right? Well in this case, the young lady's issues, don't have much to do with him. They are her own issues, from her past. However, as far as my son is concerned, they are very abstract and don't make any sense.
So I finally get to run my errands and have a spot of lunch, which proved to be my most peaceful moment of the day. It's pretty cold outside and I had a delicious bowl of potato soup, before I high-tail it over to the elementary school to pick up my youngest. I see him walking across the yard, with no jacket on (the first thing I notice because it's freezing). As he gets closer, I see that his eyes are full of tears...real ones, not those synthetic ones that he puts on for my benefit with regularity. He gets in the car and breaks down. "I just want to be normal so those kids will stop being mean to me. I wish they could just understand me. Why do I have to have autism?!"
My heart is literally breaking...inside I ache for him. I try to remain calm and not let him see how upset I am. I am having flashbacks of this same conversation with his older brother at the exact same age, the difference being is that we didn't know at the time that he had autism. We just knew he had ADD. We didn't know anything about Aspergers. We both knew that he didn't fit in. "I just want to laugh and have fun, like the rest of the kids. I just want to be happy," he said as he cried and fell into my arms.
Through his tears and holding mine back, I hug him and tell him that I love him. I tried to assure him hat he is so special and so smart. It's just too bad that those mean old kids don't get it. What's more, anyone who is mean to you isn't worth being friends with. Focus on the kids who are nice, who are understanding and sympathetic. At this age boys are trying to be assertive and cool, but they really don't have a clue. They will make you feel bad, because of their own insecurities. Of course at this point, that's an abstract concept that he doesn't understand. I hope he will some day soon. All he knows is that he wants to fit in today!
I asked him if he wanted to go inside and talk to the school Psychologist. At first he said, "That's not going to help. Nothing can help. It's my nature. She can't change my nature." Uggh....another stab to my heart! I calmly reply, "Maybe together we can come up with some ideas to just make it easier for you to get through the day." He accepted that -at least for now.
It was just an ordinary winter day in my life. A day to be grateful that although we don't have much, I am so thankful to be present to support my sons. I am glad that when the phone does ring, I am there to take the call.