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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Husband/MySon

I have been expressly forbidden to write about my husband in this blog.  So lets all pretend this isn't really happening.   I will take this moment to say, that he would probably vehemently disagree with everything written here.  But hey...these are MY Confessions.

This morning's carpool conversation was just to compelling for me not to address here.  Even though I was riding in a car full of 13 year-old boys.  I could feel the presence of my forty-nine year old husband as his words spilled forth from my son's mouth.

The conversation goes like this...

"You know your friends don't like being late and having to rush, which they have to do because of us."
"It's not my fault!"
"You're the person who had to lye back down for a few minutes and who takes 20 minutes in the bathroom, while you're singing and doing voices."
"I DO NOT!  I do not sing or do voices!  That's Red!  You're not in there with me so how do you know?!"
"Um...because I can hear you."
He goes on protesting...yelling!  I am sorry I opened my mouth.  I try to stop the conversation after I've already put it out there in the middle of the street...waiting for the Mack truck to come run over it.  He is clearly annoyed by me pointing out...um...reality.

So I have clearly pissed him off and put him in an argumentative, defensive mood. We pick up the twins.  A new conversation begins.  This is where I hear the ghost of my husband...

"I'm really worried about this test today," says Twin 1.  They are taking a sort of practice exam for the PSAT, just to give them an idea of how these kinds of tests go. Yeah...what fun!
"Try not to worry about it.  You'll be fine," says Blue.
"What if I don't know the answers...do I just guess or do I leave it blank"
"No...don't leave it blank.  Well...make a knowledgable guess."
"Huh?"
"Just give the best possible answer based on what knowledge you have."

Now this is great advice if you have a little knowledge and can make an educated guess.  But if you're like me, when I was in high-school and you have absolutely no clue...you just guess...and you guess C.  I remember doing that many times.  It's definitely better than leaving it blank...at least in my opinion.

Of course, Blue like my husband,  is very smart,  scientific and logical.  Blue also thinks he knows EVERYTHING!  Can you imagine the two of them in an argument or shall I say, discussion?

Now it's true in many ways Blue probably is smarter than me.  However...I have 35 years on him.  I've been through high school, college, have held a professional license for Real Estate and took said exam for  this license.  Of course, I passed...well...eventually.  I've also had years of work and life experience.  That means something right?

So I interject, "And if you have absolutely no clue what the answer is...guess C."
"NO!!! What are you talking about mom?  First of all you're interrupting me when I'm talking to my friend.  You always interrupt me!" This is a classic line straight out of his father's mouth!
"If you answer C you only have a 25% chance of being right!  Don't do that Twin!"
"Actually, I think it's slightly more than 25%.  I remember reading that somewhere," I reply.
"This is the 21st Century Mom! This is not the 1900's.  This is basic math!  You ALWAYS disagree with me!" Another classic line from hubby! Because I'm always supposed to agree right? 
"This is what we call a discussion son. I am allowed to share my opinion based on my life experience.  It's called a conversation.  You know where people share different ideas."  Also a classic line from every argument I've ever had with my husband! With hubby, I  usually  also through in a line about taking Philosophy in college, where I learned that you have show me some proof about what you're saying.  I don't have to just accept what you say without any evidence.  Yeah...he loves that! 

You see...hubby likes to give these soliloquies where he goes on and on for 5, 10 even 20 minutes argument for his point of view.  You are not supposed to interject, or disagree...just listen (even if you are being accused of non-truths, and inaccuracies.  I should be like President Obama, taking notes and looking disengaged during the debate, so I don't forget my point when it's finally my turn to talk.

I tell Blue...I'm going to look up the statistic on-line.  To which he tells me...there is no point in looking up.  He knows he is right.
This is what found this on Wiki-Answers:

"I remember, in college, reading a study where someone took tens of thousands of multiple-choice tests from different disciplines and studies. The result was that, on a standard 4-choice test, the letter "C" came up more than 28% of the time as an answer.

This was due to "writer's bias," and the author assumed it was because the letter "C" - or the third choice - would "be hidden" as a selection.  A
s a high-school teacher and an Ohio graduation test-prep tutor, I tell my kids that, if they come across a question where they absolutely can't use deduction and/or find an educated guess..pick the letter "C" - you have at least a 1 in 4 chance of being right, and if you consistently pick "C" in these circumstances (hopefully only once or twice per test!), you have a slightly mathematically higher chance of getting that question right... maybe only a fraction higher, but at that point, "Play the numbers!"


I also found evidence to support Blue's answer of 25%.  But I won't print that here.  Hey...it's my blog damn it!

The point is...arguing with my son is almost exactly the same as arguing with my husband.  Yes...I am a common denominator in these arguments.  I do have a tendency to look at and think about different perspectives.  Hence, one of the reasons hubby says I always disagree with him.  I often point out the perspectives that others may have. You see...I love a good exchange of ideas.  I am the first to admit that I don't know everything. However, I can learn from a good conversation or argument.  To learn you have to be willing to actually listen to the other party with an open mind. Hopefully, you don't fall asleep while they go on and on for 20 minutes.

It is my biased opinion that both husband and son see the world from their own perspective (Aspie and undiagnosed Aspie)...and me not being that way makes me a serious pain in the ass!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After the Storm

As a tribute to what many autism parents maybe be going through this morning after Hurricane Sandy, I am republishing this post.  It was originally posted in April,  2011.  Blue was still in the heart of his storm anxiety.  Here we are a year and 1/2 later.  He is nearly 14 years-old,  and that anxiety has mostly been alleviated.  Maturity, time, Abilify and facing those fears head on by actually being out in the middle of storm, all helped him to put the squash on what was once crippling storm anxiety.  I just want you all to know...there is always hope!

April 11, 2007,

I get on Facebook this morning -all my Central Texas friends are happy because we got rain last night.  It cooled our temperatures a few degrees.  Our grass and trees appreciate the free water.   Blue is not happy with the rain.  I thought things were getting better with the anxiety over thunderstorms -no such luck.

It's starting to warm up here in Central Texas.  Cold air coming down from the north mixing with our warm air = thunder and lightening.  Thunder and lightening = frightening to my little boy Blue.

He checks the weather and radar with regularity.  If there is more than a 20% chance -he worries, especially if its overnight.  He doesn't want to be awakened by a loud clap of thunder and the house vibrating.  He wants to control his environment, especially when it's time to go to sleep.  He doesn't like loud sounds, and he certainly doesn't want to be surprised and awakened by one in the middle of the night.

Things are better since he's on a low dosage of Abilify -meaning he's not hiding out throughout the day when the sun is still shining.  But overnight -if there's a good chance of a storm -he camps out in the bathroom.  Loud fan blowing, layers of blankets and pillows, sleeping bag, Ipod, earplugs, earphones and a lamp for soft lighting.  He'd rather sleep next to a toilet than be awakened by a storm.  That is really sad.  One day we will look back on this and laugh --not today.

We have tried the whole ordering him to sleep in his bed -no matter what.  All that means is once we're asleep, he sneaks into the bathroom anyway.  His fear is very real to him.  No matter how logical we try to be in our explanation, "It's not going to hurt you.  Have you ever been hurt by a storm?  We are here...we will keep you safe.  We won't let anything bad happen to you."  It doesn't matter what we say. If I can't crawl into his head and flip a switch...it doesn't work.  He has to come out of this on his own.

Last night he sets up camp while there isn't a cloud in the sky, but the radar says there is a 40% chance that a storm is coming.  He comes into our bedroom around 12:30 a.m. and asks me if I will come in the bathroom with him if it starts.  There is nothing but a little wind at this point.  I beg him to go back to sleep and not worry.  I may as well have told him to fly around the room like a bird.

The thunder claps start around 4 a.m.  They are short lived, but the build up in waiting for it kept him awake most of the night.  As I write this, he's sleeping it off,  unable to go to school on time because he probably didn't go to sleep until 5 a.m.  He will not miss the entire day.  He refuses to get behind in his schoolwork.

For now I wait -until he wakes.  Thankfully -he will wake up to sunny skies, fresh green grass and blooming plants...not that he cares one damn bit. 


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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Homework...No Thanks

If I don't go to college can I still be rich and successful? I don't want to be poor...but I don't want to do anything I don't want to do.  I want to go to college...but I don't want to do any homework in high school. It's way too stressful and takes up way to much of my free time!  Free time to do what? Watch Sponge Bob? This is the kind of logic I'm dealing with here when it comes to Red.

Who likes homework really? None of us.  Personally, I hate it. If feels like teachers are punishing me for having to put up with my kids all day.  For Red it has never been about what he knows how to do.  It's about what I have the patience to HELP him do.  It's about how much of a headache I want for the night.

"Why do they even give it out?"
"Are they trying to torture us?
"Are they trying to make us all miserable?"

I've heard these questions thousands of times from both of the boys over the years.  I feel their pain...literally.

Blue (13) really does see the point.  He realizes it's about practicing what you have learned.  Sometimes it's an opportunity to finish what you weren't able to finish in class.  He goes through great lengths to get his done.  He will stay after school for tutorials and even go to the library or to Starbucks to work in a less distracting environment than this house with his brothers shenanigans.   It doesn't mean that homework doesn't cause him stress and that sometimes...he just doesn't feel like doing it.  He gets overwhelmed.   It has even caused him meltdowns.  After holding it all together at school, sometimes he wants and needs to come home and just chill...have some downtime.

At the same time, Blue has an ultimate goal.  He wants to go to college.  He says he wants to get a Ph.D.  He wants to be the best in his class.  He wants to be well...perfect...and he will drive us all completely nuts in order to get there.

Red is a different animal altogether.  As he reaches the finish line of high-school he is starting to get a little more than panicked about his future.  You see, he wants to be successful.  He wants to be "rich"even.  He wants to be able to buy all of the "things" that he thinks will make him happy.  However, he does not want to come out of his comfort zone or push himself to do things that he just doesn't want to do.

He says he wants to go to college, but only because he thinks that will yield him the best return on making money faster...and he wants everything fast! Unfortunately, he has never been one for getting out of the comfort zone and doing things that he really just does not want to do.  He is only self-motivated when it comes to doing what he enjoys.  He can sit for hours and work on editing a video, but  he won't sit for 30 minutes to read a book for class unless someone is pointing a gun to his head.  He has taught himself how to use video editing software, but he can't or won't figure out how to do a research project for school.

He is on a minimum graduation plan, because of this fact.  Not because of his level of intelligence, but essentially because of his processing speed, which appears to be extra slow and because when he is sitting in a regular-ed classroom full of distractions, he can't focus and follow what's being taught, especially if he is just not interested.  It all sounds like garbly goo to him.  They may as well be speaking French.  He requires a smaller, more quiet environment with individual attention.  He does fine with his grades in a special education classroom.  He gets the work done and makes good grades.

Part of the issue is also that in the high-school environment, he seems to be extremely distracted by the social climate.  Why do all of these other boys have girlfriends? They all look like they're having so much fun, talking and laughing.  He doesn't know how to do that.  He feels left out.  It really kills him when he sees the couples holding hands and making out.  He takes all that garbage to class with him, which takes up space in his mind for actual learning.

The theme of our conversation on Monday, on our way to his therapist is about how panicked he is about going to college because he's not in regular classes and he gets so much support.  He doesn't do any homework.  How can he possibly get through college without the same level of support?  Well...son the truth is they don't hold your hand in college.  College is for people who are self-motivated enough to get through the subjects that they hate...in order to get to the classes that they love. It's sad for me to say...I don't see that for him.   I've asked him to challenge himself and take a few regular ed. classes...to bring assignments home to work on.  He did take regular science last year and was totally lost.  He refuses to do homework.  So there you have it.  They don't hold a gun to your head in college.  You either want to do it...or you don't.

I want both of them to have as many options as they possibly can.  He already has the social deficits of autism as a strike to make things more difficult for him.  The truth is, he is an African-American male...a minority, which can be another strike to make things more challenging on the road to success.  No matter how much this scares me as his mother, I have to remain positive with him.

I told him yesterday, "There is more than one road to success.  Everyone has their own path.  Stop comparing yourself to your friends and your peers.  They don't have the same gifts that you do. You can do anything you really want to do...if you are willing to work hard.  Aspergers does not limit you.  It just makes your path a little different."

I told him to investigate the video technical certification programs that his mentor sent him information about.  He may just have to get a job, or an apprenticeship to learn his craft and slowly move up and make more money.  His video tech mentor has already told him that he has a gift...a talent for editing which could get him a job as an assistant editor after high school.

Red is a very visual person.  I think what he needs is a visual road map leading towards his future.  We may have to work with his Person Centered Planner to create one.  The map may change with time and maturity.  In the end...if he keeps moving forward and working hard...it will lead him out of my house and to success. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

#YouMightBeAnAspieParentIf

Since our Aspie kids have their own special flavor...I thought it would be fun to change up the #YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf hashtag that was originally started on twitter in November 2011, by Elise of Raising Aspergers Kids and@manyhatsmommyMI  to #YouMightBeAnAspieParentIf .

Last year the trend took off and connected so many autism parents all over the world.  Some of the tweets were funny.  Some of them were quite sad, but the best thing that came out of it all, was the connection of so many parents who were able to come together and feel less alone in this special, and sometimes difficult journey.  I would love to do the same for our community of Aspergers and HFA parents.

From time to time I list these quirky things about being a parent of an Aspie on my "Confessions" Facebook Page  and on my Twitter @KAspergersMom page.

Here are a few that I thought of lately:

#YouMightBeAnAspieParentIf -your kid says, "I was bad at school yesterday.  The kids were all being hyper in class.  They were making me laugh and drawing me in."  But you're not upset...in fact, you're happy because he was included!  And for once he wasn't being the fun police! Then he adds, "But I still got my work done." And you think...'Darn why couldn't you be a total rebel?'

#YouMightBeAnAspieParentIf -Your kid gets student of the week because he "always helps others, is respectful and always prepared" @school...yet, he comes home and bites your freakin' head off! 

#YouMightBeAnAspieParentIf -you have to tell your kid, "Hey! Stop talking about politics. You're supposed to be swimming," when he's at the neighborhood pool. 

#YouMightBeAnAspieParentIf  -your relatives think your parenting style is "Wuss" but you don't really give a shit because you know you're doing your best with the set of cards you've been dealt.  Not to mention, your parenting comes from education and research, and trained therapists, not just beating your kids into submission because that's the way you were raised and that's quicker and easier. 

#YouMightBeAnAspieParentIf -you cringe every time your phone rings and you see the name of your child's school on the caller i.d.  Oh shit! What did he do now?!

#YouMightbeAnAspieParentIf -you love your child so much more when they're asleep and that's the only time you can kiss them without them cringing and wiping it off.

#YouMightbeAnAspieParentIf -you're used to your kid running away...and you don't run after him.  You know that he's just taking a cool down period.

#YouMightbeAnAspieParentIf -you have a few wholes that have been punched or kicked in your walls.

#YouMightbeAnAspieParentIf -you've heard your kids say...I just want to laugh like all of the other kids...but I just don't get it and your heart sinks into the bottom of your feet.

#YouMightBeAnAspieParentIf -you have prayed for your child to have at least one friend who accepts them just the way they are. 

#YouMightbeAnAspieParentIf -you know more about StarWars, airplanes, exotic cars, computers and electronics of any kind...than you EVER wanted to know.

#YouMightbeAnAspieParentIf -you think the term "family vacation" is an oxymoron.

#YouMightbeanAspieParentIf -your kids are teenagers, but you can't leave them home alone for 5 minutes because the police may be called because they are trying to kill each other.

#YouMightbeAnAspieParentIf -you're on a first name basis with the entire school administration and the special education department of your school district and they say, "Oh Shit! It's her again," when
they see you coming.

#YouMightbeAnAspieParentIf -you say out loud, "Lady can you move a little slower!" when you're trying to park the car.   When you come back out of the store, your kid is telling the lady, "My Mom says you move really slow."

#YouMightbeAnAspieParentIf -you know for sure that your kid knows every curse word in the English language and he may know a few in French and Spanish.

#YouMightbeanAspieParentIf -your teen comes straight out and asks you will you be mad if they have sex in your house.  Or he may have to become a porn star if he can't find a girlfriend when he gets older. (No...that NEVER happened to me!)

#YouMighbeAnAspieParentIf -you know for sure that you have a child who will make the world a better place.

I could go on all day,  but I'm going to give you all the chance to join the party.  Leave your #YouMightBeAspieParentIf comments below or better yet, lets start the trend again on twitter.

Hugs and Love,

~Karen

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex Ba-by

It may be blasphemous to talk about a relationship with God and sex in the same blog post...but this is the reality of my life raising teens with Aspergers.  At seventeen that uncomfortable conversation about sex is bound to come up ...no matter how much I would like to avoid it.  This time it was actually a reasonable conversation, I think only because of his new found desire to be a "hardcore Christian" as he calls it.

I have to say, that the closer he gets in his relationship with God, the more clear his thinking seems to become.  That...along with the therapy we're paying an arm and a leg for.  That's right, instead of us helping him by a car at 17...we are paying cash for a therapist who specializes in working with Aspies on sexual and relationship issues.

So there's a girl...who shows interest in Red.  She has been showing interest for quite some time, but he didn't pay attention to it, as he was too busy focusing on girls who did not even know he was alive.  Now that he has come down to reality, this seemingly nice young lady has caught his interest as well.  Although, he is taking things surprisingly slow.  He is developing a friendship with her.  He is slowly ...very slowly trying to get to know her.  It's kind of strange to see him with this approach.

I caution him, don't just ask her out for the sake of saying, "I'm dating someone."  Don't just ask her out because you think you should.  You need to be sure of your feelings.  You need to really get to know her and her family to determine if she is a good fit for you.

He tells me, "She deserves respect.  Not just some guy who is trying to have sex with her.  I'm trying to show her respect and get to know her."  Wait a minute...who is this kid? 

Later on we're having lunch he says, "I really want to take my time.  I don't want to have sex because I know it's a sin, but just in case it happens...would you be mad?" Ugh! Punch to the gut!  I am not ready for this...and neither is he, despite what his hormones and teenage urges tell him.

I go into the whole explanation of the emotions that come along with sex, which he has no clue about.  "What do you mean?  Like I'm gonna cry or something?"

When we talk about double protection he asks, "What do you mean? Like wear 2 condoms?"
Woo hoo!  We are so not ready here.

We talk about safety, and sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy, protection for both parties (birth control and condoms) and still...there are no 100% guarantees.

Fortunately, he knows a young man at school whose girlfriend already has a baby.  Of course, the young man he has no money or life skills to give this child.  Red can see this...and says he doesn't want to end up in that situation.  Yeah...but isn't that what they all say?

We talk about abstinence being the best policy...that sex is designed for people who are ready for that kind of emotional commitment.  It's for people who can afford to pay the consequences if a pregnancy comes out of the situation.

He tells me honestly he just wants to know what it's like to kiss someone, give them a hug, and have them hug him back.  I am realistic and tell him how one thing can lead to another.  It's kind of like how he feels about cursing.  He swears because of his Christianity,  that he wants to stop cursing.  But everyday there he goes! Oops!  It just slipped out.  It just happened.  I couldn't help it!  The next thing you know...he will be saying the same thing about kissing.  Oops! It just happened.  We were just kissing naked and I slipped and fell into her vagina!

He is getting closer in his relationship to God.  He is talking and listening to his youth Pastor and at least has in his mind...that he wants to do the right thing.  He feels free enough to talk to me.  He periodically talks to his dad, and to his older brother (who can also be clueless when it comes to sex and doing the right thing.  Oy...that's a whole other blog post!)  But at least he's talking and thinking out loud.  So eventually, when and if  anything happens...we will know about it, and hopefully we can help him be prepared.

I have to keep reminding myself, he is 17.  The curiosity about sex is at it's peak right now.  At least we can talk about it...even if afterwards I need a very strong drink. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mom Magic


Blue is upset...feeling like the entire world is resting on his shoulders.  Why? In a word...School.  He is smart as a whip -but it's that deficit in executive planning that gets him every time. 

There are so many things to do...so many deadlines to think about.  There's that science project -building an atom model to the tune of $45.00 in supplies plus $30.00 in tutoring fees.  That's an expensive got-dammed model!  I kind of feel like I've been robbed.  He could have drawn an example of an atom for free!  He has excellent artistic skills.  Seriously...I have to admit it was totally worth paying our teenaged neighbor to help him.  He would have fought with me tooth and nail all the way through if I tried to assist him.  But still...$75.00 later! 

Then there is that history test that his Social Studies teacher stresses ..."You all better study!  It's not going to be easy!" And it was not.  Blue did not do well...and he was not happy!   Pre-Ap Algebra 1? ...too much homework for his taste.  He is longing for a little more down time when he comes home.  And he needs it!  Anything extra...even going to church (which he is starting to really enjoy) can mean a meltdown. 

Language Arts of which he decided to take Pre-Ap?  He's starting to feel like he made a big mistake!
"I can not read that fast!  She expects us to read silently...to ourselves! I need to hear it.  Not just read it.  I do much better when we read along together in class."
He needs to involve at least two senses to everyone else's one.  He is a great writer...like his mama.  It's the fiction reading that slows him down. 

The stress shows up here at home in the form of a disagreeable, grumpy, extra-arugmentative, easily explosive child.  Yeah...fun for us!  

When I tell Aspergers Dad about his stress and feelings of being overwhelmed, his response. "Tell him it's only going to get harder.  He better get used to it."  There is a reason why God gave these kids two parents.  Of course Dad is right...in a way, but I'm not going to tell him that.  The part that he leaves out, is that we have to teach him ways to advocate for himself to take down his stress level.  For instance ...in college, you can take less classes to slow things down a bit, or take classes after noon so you don't have to get up so early in the morning.  You can build flexibility into your schedule. 

I am all for trying to be the best...but not to the point of stressing yourself out and being totally anxious about it. 

So Blue talks to his tracking teacher and his Language arts teacher about his trouble keeping up.  He doesn't really feel like they are hearing him.  He comes home and tells me, "They weren't any help!" 

I have to work my Mom Magic in the background.  I send an e-mail to the Language Arts teacher, informing her of the testing I had done last year by our Neurologist, which shows that Blue's reading fluency is below grade level, although his vocabulary and word recognition are well ABOVE grade level.  So basically, when it comes to reading fiction, he needs a little extra support in the form of audio as well as visual.  She graciously agrees to accommodate him.  We all know he has a brilliant mind and is capable of plenty, we just have to be flexible and make things work for him.

I put a spark under the tracking teachers ass with a phone and an e-mail stressing that he needs a road-map to help him with executive planning.  I also ask her to work with Blue and the Social Studies teacher to see how he can make up the grade for the test he did not do well.  We need to do all of this today because I am going out tonight and I can't afford for him to come home and have a meltdown.  I do not want to miss the concert I've been planning to go to for weeks.  She jumps right on it and handles the situation. 

I then put in a phone call to Cole's bestie's mom to ask her if she can help me out by allowing him to come over and hang with the boys for a few hours while we go out.  That will help take the sting out of his day of mishaps.  It will allow for me to go out without getting any phone calls about a meltdown or fight at home between the two boys.  

Yep...a sistah has to work that magic that so that Blue could get the support he needs while his mom and dad got the chance to go out to get our groove back.  We partied like we were young, and in love with no responsibilities for the night.  Not only did we enjoy seeing Erykah Badu at Austin City Limits...we also danced our asses off to the DJ's music out on the patio afterwards.  I was like...Wow! I remember this!  There is life on a Thursday night when you don't have kids to worry about.  Sweet memories of  life B.C. (before children). 

I partied like a rock star for the night.  Until it all came to a screeching halt when I had to get up the next morning to get Blue to school on time and then take Red in to the Podiatrist for a little toe surgery.  What was I thinking when I made that appointment?  Obviously I wasn't thinking about drinking so much vodka the night before.  He's doing fine by the way... 

As for me...it only took me two days to recover. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

3 Boys...1 Broken Heart

Although we know it's inevitable...it's hard to watch your child go through their first broken heart.  In this case, it is my child's best friend, whom I love like he's my own.  Alex...is the manly man kind of 13 year-old boy.  He has some athletic ability.  He's tall and handsome.  He can be goofy and silly when he's in his comfort zone, but at school he is generally busy trying to fit in and not call too much attention to himself.  He is somewhere on the Autism Spectrum. 

He's been crushing on this girl since about the 3rd or 4th grade.  She's come to his birthday parties, and always been really nice to him.  Since middle-school, their friendship has waxed and waned and come back again, waned and come back again.  This year however, he was all to pleased that they now share a class together!  What's even better than that...their lockers are right next to each other.  Woo hoo! Score! 

So this girl let's call her Liza, has been smiling, saying hello and generally being nice to Alex so far during this school year.  They are now in 8th grade.  Meanwhile, in his head...they are pretty close to "going out" with each other, only she has no idea about this.  Why?  Because he has never expressed his feelings to her.  He just hopes that she knows through osmosis. 

Alex's biggest fear has been that she may somehow get a boyfriend before he actually works up the nerve to let her know how he feels.  And on this day...his biggest fear comes to reality.  They are in the hallway near the lockers and she says to her friend something along the lines of, "This is my boyfriend." And she's not talking about Alex!  

So after school, I am waiting outside for over a half an hour  for Alex to come out.  I call inside to his tracking teacher.  She tells me she was in the middle of a counseling him about a girl situation.  He makes it down the hallway and towards the front door when he stops to talk to the Vice Principal.  They are not used to seeing Alex unhappy.  When he finally reaches the car...the sadness is palpable.  As soon as he gets in the car, he lets go with deep sobs.  

"My life is over! I can't believe she has a boyfriend! What am I going to do now?  What if she kisses him?  I just couldn't take that!  I don't know what I would do!"

Meanwhile, his brother who is somewhere deeper on the spectrum says...
"You don't need her Alex! She didn't like you anyway! Why do you like her?"
 Not exactly what he wants to hear.  
And then Blue, Mr. Practical says...
"I told you relationships in middle school are a bad idea.  It never lasts and you're just going to get your feelings hurt.  Just wait till she breaks up with the guy and then you can go out with her in high-school. That will be better. I told you to wait till high-school anyway.  And dude...she didn't even know you liked her because you never told her." 
There goes that brutally honest Aspie of mine. Yeah...that's what he wanted to hear --sobering reality while he's falling apart.

I have to chime in of course, "Alex --I'm sorry that you're feeling so bad.  I know it's hard.  Just remember, you can still be her friend. You can still smile and say hello and talk to her."

He's deep in sadness and none of our advice means much at this point.  He goes right back to...
"What if she kisses him?!  I couldn't take it!  I don't think I'll ever be happy again." 

This is so amazing coming from him.  He is usually so macho...so tough and go with the flow.  My heart aches for him.  His mom is not home when we get there.  I call her and tell her what's going on so that she can talk to him as soon as possible. 

The following morning on our way to pick them up I tell Blue, "People don't want to hear 'I told you so' when they are hurting.  They want to know that you understand how they feel and give them some kind of encouragement.  

When Alex gets in the car Blue says to him, "Dude...I'm sorry you're upset.  It's going to be o.k. Just remember friendships last longer than relationships.  You can always be her friend."  Alex's brother chimes in, "That's right! You don't need her!"

As each day passes...he seams to feel a little better.  By that Friday morning I ask him,  "Are you going to the dance tonight?" Days before ...when life wasn't worth living, he didn't think he could go.  He says, "Yeah I guess I'm going."  

We all break out clapping in the car...applauding his decision to move on and have fun with his friends.  And they do just that! 

Editorial Note: The names have been changed in this story...to protect the broken-hearted. 

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