One of the many joys I’ve experienced lately has been listening to other people describe my son, to me. I’m sure I am not alone in enjoying hearing good things said about their children, but my son has overcome so much these past six years, even he recognizes the differences between then and now. “Mom, when I look back at who I was in sixth grade, I cringe,” He’s told me numerous times. The other day, while ruminating on the differences between then and now he added, “I was so serious….” I smiled, remembering just how serious he was and all the difficulties he had with his peers. “Bay, Middle school is a difficult time regardless who you are. But truth be told, at that time, you had not been taught any coping skills. In addition, your Father and I were ill equipped to help a kid on a spectrum, because we refused to see a spectrum in you. In fact, if anything, you were a product of frustration stemming from inept parents,” I replied. “Aw Mom, don’t be so hard on yourself…” He said, before adding, “Actually Dad’s always been pretty perceptive…” “Oh Gee, thanks, bud…” I replied and then accepted a conciliatory hug from him in exchange.
On Thanksgiving and Christmas, many family members made a point of telling me how much they enjoyed the boy’s inclusion and interactions with them. “He’s really come out of his shell,” my sister Ann mentioned. “Marsh, he’s such an affable young man, who knew?”an in-law mentioned. My brother Chris, who gave the boy and I a ride home early Christmas Morning, referenced a conversation we overheard between the boy and his son, Patrick, when Patrick’s girlfriend Katie happened to mention that one of her room mates was a man. “Oh, he’s a good guy, Patrick began, “You know, someone I can trust with my…” That’s when the boy interrupted and said, “You mean, the type of guy you’re not worried about knacking your girl?” “Yes, exactly,” Patrick replied with a laugh. “Knacking?” I remarked as we all burst into laughter (the boy included) at the his astute? use of the English language (or maybe not; it was late). “Marsha-the boy is so smart and funny and he knows it!” He remarked.
Then last night, I attended a meeting at his high school arriving a few minutes early. As I walked into the front gym, I approached a table where stacks of paper had been set and a young man stood busying himself at the table. “Hi, is this where Senior parents are supposed to meet?” I asked “Yes, your name?” He asked. “Marsha….” The young man looked up at me and asked, “Are you the boy’s mom?” I smiled and replied, “Yesss,”cautiously. “Hello, I’m Mr. Rolf, the boy’s religion teacher….” “Oh, hello,” I returned. “Your son is so great. I really enjoy him. He’s one of the most engaging students in the school, well at least in my class anyways,” He explained. Nodding. I said, “Oh good! He is a good talker,” then wondered if I should say anything else to say, but was saved when his Newspaper teacher overheard Mr. Rolf’s exclamation and added, “He’s engaging in Newspaper too, I hope he likes the class…” “Oh, he loves writing for the paper. Ultimately he’d like to be a writer, and your class is giving him an opportunity to learn different writing skills,” I said as she nodded and replied, “I’m glad to hear this.” A few minutes later, the college counselor approached and together we began talking about his possible future plans. “I know he’s worried about going away to school…” She mentioned before quickly adding, “But, you know, if he were the same kid who walked into this school four years ago, there is no way we’d be having this conversation”. “Yes, he’s really grown here…” I returned. “To be perfectly honest, I was so worried for him his Freshman year, but, he’s really matured, opened himself up and I think is ready to face the world…” Nodding along, I added, “From your lips to God’s ears…” and we both smiled. “Always to God’s ears,” She replied before we parted company.
When I arrived home last night, full of love and hope for his future, I knocked on his bedroom door, opened and said, “Hey, I talked with a student who turned out to be your…” He interrupted and said, “Oh, you met Mr. Rolf.” and then laughed adding, “Yes, we tease him mercilessly about how young he appears to be”. “Well, what I’d like to know is what have you been putting in the water over there…?” Giving me a curious look in reply I added, “Well every teacher that I talked with tonight were nothing but complimentary about you…’He’s very engaging, He’s very well liked… blah blah blah…Who ya bribing bay?” Smiling he simply replied, “It’s just my charming and affable personality helped along by my exceedingly good looks”. From the other room the doll overhearing me added, “More boy fans–gag!” Our smiles met one another as I said, “Well, whatever you’re doing, keep doing,” and then reached out, gave him a quick hug, before exiting the room.
Ah, life is good!