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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Graduation

At the end of every week for the past several weeks, I have thought ...Boy! That was the week from hell! I think I deserve a prize for surviving.

Last week before Red's graduation, was the epitome of a week from hell. I thought nothing could top the previous week when I had come home from the hospital with my mother.  He went completely ballistic, as we were coming through the door.  You read that right ...coming through the door after her being in the hospital, for 5 days.

"Why didn't you take me to church!?" he asked incredulously. "Why do you have to have Blue's therapy appointment on Wednesdays when you know I need to get to church?"  He went on and on and on from there. ranting, making all kinds of threats.  This ended with a phone call to the Crisis hotline. A call that miraculously got him to pull his shit together.

I have told him numerous times, "You know I have his appointment on Wednesdays, YOU need to find another way to get to church. And don't wait until the last minute!" Sometimes he pulls it off, getting someone from church to pick him up.   Sometimes, he waits and there is no one available.

On that particular day, not only did I have to be across town for therapy with Blue, I also needed to be back on this side of town,  immediately following because suddenly, they decided to release my mother from the hospital. (Even though, she wasn't much better than when she got there). My husband was out of town, of course.  I don't have the superpower of being 3 places at once, so something had to give.

The person who was dialing my phone over and over again, being rude and demanding, was the person who lost out on a ride from me.

Back to this last week before graduation ...Red had completed his high school credits in January of this year.  So, when he arrived on campus for graduation rehearsal, he had not been submerged in the high school cesspool for over 4 months.  Being in the gym, surrounded by hundreds of seniors, brought back all kinds of insecurities, old wounds, thoughts and feelings about every single bad thing that ever happened during high school.  It sent him over the edge.

I got a phone call from him during rehearsal, "I'm not doing it! I am not walking the stage with these people. I feel uncomfortable here."

Later I received a text, "I want the girls to scream my name when I walk across that stage.  Since that's not going to happen...it's pretty much going to be a disaster."

I didn't push.  I told him it was his life ...his decision.

Well, he came home and jumped head first into the deep end.  He ranted he raved.  He blamed all of us and everyone else in the world, for all of his problems.  He said some of the most god awful things to all of us ...my mother included.  Some of the things he said  quite frankly, were unforgivable, certainly unforgettable. Rage or no rage, Aspergers or not. I was done! I really didn't want him to walk if we had to see more of this behavior.

I was trying to pull off a little reception for the following day after graduation,  here at the house, so that his friends and our friends could stop by, have a bite and acknowledge his accomplishment.  Plans for that came to a screeching halt after he said all of the horrible things that you just can't take back.

After saying everything he could to our family, then he took to Facebook to let everyone in the world know how he was feeling.

"I don't want to go to graduation. I'm going to be embarassed and people are going to make fun of me on stage. They're going to say "Look its the angry guy!" and I will not be embarassed in front of the whole school!! I wish I could make a speech in front of the whole entire school and prove them wrong that I am not the person they think I am!!! I am way nicer than you think and I will not be humiliated!! But I guess that none of my classmates actually care about me especially the girls."

This post rallied a lot of attention.  He received encouraging words and thoughts from so many people. He got phone calls from family members with words of encouragement.  I tried to explain what graduation is really about.  It's a celebration of accomplishment.  It's not a popularity contest.  It's an opportunity to put the past behind you and move forward.

He made it through the second rehearsal the following day without incident. He became determined to walk.  In the past, he has volunteered in the classroom with kids with autism and other disabilities who have much more to overcome than he does.  Some of them would be walking the stage on graduation day.  He was determined that if they could do it, so could he.
He Made IT! 

When that graduation march song played, my heart filled with pride.  My eyes filled with tears.  I thought about every meeting that I went through to fight for what he needed.  I thought about every phone call I received from school when he was falling apart.  I thought about all of my worries and fears that this day would never come.  That his anger would someday get him into trouble that I couldn't get him out of.  In that moment, I believe that his walking across that stage meant more to me than any other parent in that stadium.

While all of the kids were standing to receive accolades, awards and recognition, I was thinking, He made it! And he never got arrested or ended up in the hospital! That's my boy!

One of his peers that he started kindergarten with was in the top 10 students graduating.  He has already received a scholarship to the University of Texas.  I am so happy and proud of him. This young man would periodically come over to tutor with Blue on high school projects.  I am equally  happy that Red made it to graduation...period.  He has a job that he loves. Many students don't have that yet.  He has a passion for video editing and has taught himself, more than many other students will ever know.
Red & friend since day 1 kindergarten
He's going to make it.  His path has not been easy.  There will continue to be bumps, curves, and setbacks.  He may need more support than your average adult, but he will get there.   I am hoping that getting there, means that soon he will get out of my house!

By the way, he did not take one picture with his family after the ceremony.  He was too busy taking pictures with all of the friends and hot girls, whom he accuses of ignoring him all throughout high school. You all will have to see me in my hot dress another time.
Girls he wanted to scream his name
He settled for this picture...thrilled in fact