Rolling down the street
Chasing my son
Wantin Some Gin and Juice
With my mind on his future
And his future on my mind
And my name ain't Snoop D-O double G
For my friends who are parents of young Aspies, I don't mean to scare you. I pray that this is not what is in your future. Maybe you can learn something from whatever the hell it is that I'm doing wrong. And maybe from somethings that I do right. Remember...every child with Aspergers is different. Let us pray that your child is different from mine...
p.s. The names have been changed to protect the innocent...and the guilty.
There is no laughter as I am driving down the street in full-chase of my 16 year-old, 200 something pound teenager, as he runs away riding on his little brother's bike. It would be comical if it wasn't so tragic. I can say that about much of my life actually. Imagine, me, my mom and Blue riding down the street in my SUV chasing an angry, sweating, huge, teenage boy, almost 6 foot tall, on a motor-cross bike, in the 100 plus degree Texas summer heat.
The day started with my usual driving around the world and back, doing circles around the city, taking the boys here, there and everywhere. Around 5:30 p.m., I pull into the garage with Blue, so glad to cross the threshold into my air-conditioned house. As soon as I turn the key I remember, Damn! Mom has an appointment at 6:30. The last thing I feel like doing is getting back in that car for ANY reason. However, I had scheduled this appointment for her over a month ago, with a masseuse who is not easy to get an appointment with. She is also a friend of mine. I can't just blow it off at the last minute, when she could have booked someone else in that spot.
As I walk through the door I am immediately accosted by Red. "Mom...I need you to take me to the church right now!"
"Um...excuse me! I have an appointment to take Nana to right now. I can't take you anywhere. Your dad has been here all day. Why didn't you ask him?"
"Why aren't you riding with Luke?" (The friend whose church he is going to).
Mind you...I have already taken him and another friend to his OWN church activity earlier in the day.
"Um...Luke can't give me a ride cause he's taking two other friends and there's no room for me."
Sounds fishy. As far as I'm concerned, if Luke isn't taking him...he doesn't need to go. This is not his church, it's Luke's church. He only goes there because of an invitation from Luke. Why would Luke invite him and then say he can't give him a ride? Doesn't make sense to me.
"Sorry dude. I have some place to be. Nana can't be late."
"You don't understand mom. YOU HAVE TO TAKE ME NOW!" he screams. Oh Hell no! This is not working for me.
His cell phone rings. I assess from one side of the conversation that something is up. There is a REASON why he needs a ride because something is going on between him and Luke. Whatever it is...is making him desperate to get to that church. He's not very good at lying or hiding things, so it doesn't take long to get most of the story.
Luke is an emerging friend who also has Aspergers. However, he is extremely high-functioning. He is very social, like Blue. He is also very bright. I swear if I didn't know he had a diagnosis...I would never guess it. He comes off as cool...with it...popular even. He is the most polite young man of all of Blue and Red's friends on the spectrum. He never forgets to greet anyone or to say, please and thank you. I so desperately want to meet his mother and ask her, What is the deal with your kid? He's awesome! What did you do to make him this way?! His father is the Pastor at the church the boys have been going to together. Is it the extreme Christian upbringing or what?
It turns out that the reason that Luke is not taking Red to church is because Red has insulted him. After Luke agreed to take him to church, Red says, something like..."Well are you sure you're going to come? Because you've played me off before. You know you're not like my best friend Keith. You always blow me off." Now why would you do this when he just told you he was taking you to church?
Well, there has been several times when Luke has canceled on Red at the last minute. Red got to talking about this with his best friend, who quickly told him, "Dude Luke is not really your friend. That's why he's always blowing you off."
Red being the literal guy that he is, took what his best friend said at face value, without questioning Keith's motives. Red is Keith's only friend. I'm sure, he would like it to remain that way.
After Red opened his mouth and inserted his foot, he tried to apologize, but Luke needed some time to process it. He didn't just say, "Oh it's cool dude. You just totally insulted me. But that's o.k. Sure I'll come right over and get you." No, he was hurt by Red's words and therefore, would not be taking Red with him to church that day.
My mom and I are getting into the car to head to her appointment. Blue jumps in the car with us. He doesn't want to be left at home with Red acting crazy and his father upstairs asleep. Red follows us out the door yelling, "You have to take me to his house now!" When I ignore him...he jumps on his brother's bike and takes off.
Red is riding down the street...pumping and sweating on the little dirt bike. He is angry...out of control and desperate. He is going to go to this kid's house to demand that he forgive him and take him with him to church!
His adulthood is flashing through my mind. What if this were a girlfriend who dumped him? He's going to show up at her house...uninvited...in a rage. Can you say...arrested?
He's going to make a complete fool of himself, scare the heck out of this kid and his family in his anger and rage. Forget about him becoming his new best friend. He's going to make him run screaming in the opposite direction.
As I am hauling ass down the street, I have Blue look up the number and call the massage therapist on my cell phone. I have to let her know I have an emergency and I'm not going to make it. It is literally like 10 minutes before her appointment and I'm busy chasing Red down the street. My mother insists that I stop him.
Blue locates the number and then asks, "What do I say again?" I tell him to give me the phone.
"I am driving down the street chasing my kid right now. I can't really explain, but we are not going to make it. I am SO sorry!" I say to her. She also has a kid on the spectrum, luckily she is gracious.
"Don't worry about it. She tells me. I will be in touch to reschedule."
We get ahead of Red. I pull the car over in front of him, you know, like you see the cops do on t.v., cutting him off at the pass. He rides around us. Blue gets out of the car and starts chasing him on foot. He is yelling, "Stop! You can't do this! Come back!"
I catch up to them, pull the car over again, and try to get him to get into the car. He is yelling and being irrational. At this point we have made it to the corner of the kid's house. While I am trying to talk some sense into to Red, Blue runs ahead to the kids house. He is going to try to warn him. NOT HELPFUL! Red sees him heading towards the house and follows suit. I get back into the car with my mom, as she shakes her head in disbelief. This is nuts!
Thankfully, Luke and his parents are not at home. At least they didn't answer the door. Thank God!
I finally talk Red into getting into the car. He is still belligerent, but he's hot and he's tired, so he finally gets in.
Blue tells me he will ride the bike home. Red is still yelling, "Don't take me home! Take me to the church! I need to talk to someone now! Don't turn that way! Turn this way! DO NOT TAKE Me HOME! If I go to the church someone can help us with this!"
He thinks I'm going to take him to the church so that he can make a huge scene, insisting that this kid be the kind of friend he wants him to be...NOW! He thinks he is going to step into this church, embarrass the hell out of this kid, and this is going to what? Endear him to him?
The deal is that he wants Luke to be always available. He wants to be included in every plan that he makes as if the boy never had any other friends before they met. He wants to be his instantaneous new best friend. He is not taking into consideration that this young man does not think exactly the way that he does. That not only does he have MANY other friends...he also has Aspergers and it just may be that he doesn't ALWAYS want to be around anyone. Perhaps it's overwhelming for him to be surrounded by people all of the time. Whatever his feelings may be...they should be honored. They don't have to be exactly like Red's feelings, wants and needs. Luke nor anyone for that matter...is responsible for filling Red's empty well.
I would love it if he spent more time with Luke. He is a positive role model. He is mature, smart and insightful. He doesn't fill Red's head with non-sense like some of his less mature friends do. Luke has great Christian values. He doesn't curse. He likes girls but isn't talking about dying to have sex with them. He works out and encourages Red to do the same. He is a good student, taking advanced classes and a heavy work load. He is patient, kind, understanding and forgiving. However, I can not make him Red's new best friend any more than Red can. Friendships develop naturally and with time. Teaching Red this is like talking to a brick wall. I realize that this, along with many other lessons that come with peer relationships, will have to be learned the hard way.
The antics do not stop once I get him in the car and we pull into our driveway. He continues screaming at me to take him to the church. My mom gets out of the car to go get my husband, who is of course, still fast asleep in the house.
Red yells at me, "Give me the keys! I'm going to drive myself!" Mind you ...he has no driver's license, and has never driven a car. He has been trying to convince us lately that he is ready to drive. Yeah...sure! We are ready to hand over the keys to a lethal weapon when you are volatile and impulsive. This is proof positive that he is so...not ready.
Flashing through my mind is the day that will come when we have no control over his impulsiveness. When he will have to make sound decisions for himself. He is just a few months away from 17, where in the state of Texas, you are treated as an adult in the legal world. He is worlds away from being able to consistently make good decisions. What 17 year-old is for that matter? I can only hope that maturity will kick in at some point in the near future. As his mother, naturally I want to have him walk around the landmines that I see in his path. But, I can't do it for him. I can not walk in his shoes. I can not completely protect him. I know this, and it scares the hell out of me.
Hubby comes down and eventually gets him inside the house. He eventually calms down.
Mom has missed her appointment.
I am mentally and physically drained.
I wonder which neighbors saw what, but then again...who cares?
It has been a long time since we've been through anything like this with Red.
I pray that it will be a long time before we have to go through it again.