it’s my prerogative…

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The doll and I were walking home from Mass yesterday, when a conversation about the boy began. “Mom, what were you and Mr. N talking about?” She wondered. “When I wished him good morning, he told me how much he misses having the boy in his class this semester, so I thanked him and then bragged a little bit about the applause he received at Friday’s assembly,” I explained. “Why are you so geeked up about that?” She replied. “Because it’s a mother’s prerogative to be,” I replied. “But mom, you know he’s well liked, right?” She asked. “Well I do now, but you have to understand, since he doesn’t go to any extracurricular events for the school, it’s been hard for me to gauge whether he has friends, besides the office staff,” I replied.

“You can put your fears aside mom, he does have friends,” She returned. “Doll, you have to understand, middle school was so difficult and your dad and I didn’t realize he was autistic then. We just thought his quirks were due to the ADD meds and stuff, so we did everything wrong until seventh grade. But then on his fist day of eighth grade, he attends a pool party at his one good buddy’s house, believing he’s safe and going to have a great time and what happens? He comes home with a black eye,” I explained. “Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that…” “And I received a call to “rescue” him, from another parent who happened to arrive about the time everything got out of hand. So when I arrived, I found him in the pool, refusing to get out-so he wouldn’t give the other boys the satisfaction of chasing him out. What’s more, I got to overhear all the taunts they shot at him,” I said. “You have no idea how difficult it is for a parent to not to turn and rip all the heads off those mouthy boys…” I added. “So you see, the fact that he’s well liked, maybe even loved by his high school class, is very satisfying for me,” I explained.

“Wow, yeah, I see your point,” My doll began, “Sometimes I feel like the worst sister…” “No you’re not, the squabbles you both have is normal, everyday stuff. Like I’ve told you hundreds of times before, next to me and your uncle Dan, you’re angels…” I replied. “I know, but…” She said. “Doll, remember when we pulled the Winnie the Pooh border out of his bedroom and he was really upset? You comforted and helped him. You’re the best little big sister…” I said and she smiled. “Oh, maybe this is why my friends see me as the ‘Mother-friend of the group,'” she replied. Chuckling I said, “Doll, one more thing, your acts of kindness toward him hasn’t gone unnoticed. Your brother cares about you in so many ways,” I replied siting a well known example, “When your dad was sick and the emergency squad was in the driveway, upon arriving home, the first thought that popped into his head was not, ‘I hope nothing is wrong with mom or dad,’ but rather, ‘I hope the doll is okay…'” She nodded, took in what I said and acted and seeming a little embarrassed said, “How did we get onto this dumb conversation anyway…”

Smiling I replied, “Because it’s a mother’s prerogative to be proud of her kids–both her kids…”

alls good..

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I have another partially written blog that I was going to post tonight, once I had a moment to do so. But instead, I feel compelled to tell you about the conversation I had with my kids, on the drive home today.

The boy made it to the car first, entering the backseat and saying, “I made quite an entrance today”. “What does that mean?” I said, as my son gave pleasantries to Mrs. K, seated in the front passenger seat. “I’ll wait until the doll comes in, to tell you her side…” He replied. “What does that mean?” I reiterated and he laughed. When the doll finally sat down behind me, he said, “Doll, tell mom about the assembly this afternoon…” “Oh yeah, there was an assembly,” She lamely said. “And…” I asked, feeling a bit frustrated by their lack of spillage. “They had the Super Fellow assembly and they announced all the Senior boys who were nominated,” She said. “So doll, what was your take?” He asked her. “Oh, you got one of the biggest applause,” She said before adding, “Which made me feel horrible…” Mrs. K, delighting in the conversation asked the doll, “That made you feel horrible, why?” “Because it was embarrassing!” She acknowledged as the car erupted in laughter.  “Plus I already had a pretty good sinus headache, which didn’t help matters.” She added, chuckling to herself.

“But did you see what happened?” The boy asked her. “I tried not to…” She replied. Mrs. K, turned and asked, “Why didn’t you see?” and the doll replied, much like she did earlier, “Because I didn’t want to be embarrassed by him…it’s bad enough people know he’s my brother…” and then began laughing. Truth of the matter is, whether the she’ll admit this or not, she looks up to her brother and is very proud of how far he’s come these last few years. “Okay bay, what did you do…?” I asked beginning to worry. “When they announced each candidate, we were supposed to walk on stage and shake hands with Fr. Rader. But you know me, I’m unconventional, so, when they announced my name and the loud applause began, instead of shaking his hand, I gave him a big old bear hug, which shocked him a bit (the boy then imitated what the priest’s surprised look was). Then when I released him, I turned, faced the crowd and gave everyone a “peace” sign, then a thumbs up, before exiting the stage.”

“Glad I didn’t see that…” His sister uttered and again the car erupted in laughter. After a while I said, “The biggest applause eh?” Very proud, happy to hear this. “Why should this be surprising?” The doll pointedly said to me before adding, “He knows everyone..” “Well, I try to know everyone. I’m just a very welcoming person…I’m friendly,” He explained. “Tell me, do your buddies know your affinity for giving hugs?” I asked. “Yes, and everyone seems to be fine with them, in fact that’s probably what endears me to them the most…” He explained. “Bay, that’s awesome,” I replied “But not awesome enough to get him into the top 5,” his sister noted. “Eh, hearing that loud overwhelming applause was more than enough validation,” the boy added and we all agreed.

Indeed!

 

strange talkative brew…

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On a Sunday morning, in the not so distant past, I said to my husband in a tone indicative of someone not happy, “What are we going to do when the kids are completely grown and out of the house?” He smiled and replied, “Who are you kidding, they boy will move back in after college and never leave…” Pausing for a moment, I had to concede, he was probably right. But, honestly, it’s becoming harder and sadder for me to believe we are in the last four months of the boy’s high school career and what’s worse,  half my blog fodder will be gone from my immediate vicinity. Oh sure, the occasional phone call or the time he came home to do his laundry story will come up, but my poor doll will be my only one true source of blog entertainment.

(Praying) She better be good… (Praying some more) …in a not getting into too much trouble sort of way. (Still Praying)

***

Recently heard: “Mom, aren’t you proud of me, I actually have friends!” My doll exclaimed the other day. “What constitutes them as friends?” I asked, having heard up until that moment she only had acquaintances, not real “friends”. “I;ve actually had conversations with someone other than Allie, that were substantive,” She replied. “Good signs doll, all good signs,” I replied.

***

“I’m not sure why I’m talking so much lately, because this just isn’t like me,” She began, “I mean, I’m usually more reserved, but I can’t seem to keep myself in check lately. Maybe I’m just finally feeling better, or perhaps I’ve finally found my place in my strange, outrageous class–I have told you before how strange and out there they are right? Or maybe….” She continued in a long, stream of consciousness vibe kind of way. “Doll?” I interrupted. “Yes?” “How many of those Starbuck’s Frappuccino drinks have you had today?” I wondered. She gushed for a moment then said, “One before school, one after…” “I think one before school might be your limit,” I said with a knowing type smile. “Are you saying I’m talking too much?” She asked. “Oh, no, it’s just you haven’t stopped to take a breath…” She smiled again and said, “You’re probably right,” Before starting right back up from where she left off, “Or maybe it’s because we’re half way through the school year and all the presumptions people had coming into school have begun to fade away and we’re really seeing each other for the first time…” She paused then added, “Or, maybe you’re right, I’m drinking too much coffee…”

“Maybe a little of everything…” I offered as she exited the room.

 

razor sharp moment….

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Over the weekend, when the boy, hubby and I spent the night in New Concord, Ohio, the boy not only failed to shave before we left, he inexplicably forgot his toiletry bag–which houses a seldom used electric razor. Wanting him to make the best impression possible, my husband went into the hotel store, the morning of the test and purchased a small can of shaving cream and a razor. “I can’t shave my face,” The boy decreed. “Sure you can, it’s easy…” My husband said as he squirted a small amount of shaving cream into the boy’s hand and instructed him to lather up his lower face. “I don’t like what I’m doing…” The boy announced. “Bay, for the love of God, really? This is a rite of passage dude,” I said, hoping to get him more in the mood to shave. “Mom, I don’t trust my shaky hands to not cut my face,” He replied. “Hold still…” His father said, frustrated, while grabbing the razor and attempting to shave the boy’s face. “I’m not sure if I’m going with the grain or not…”His father said, while drawing the razor across his face.  “Dad…” The boy tried to object but fell silent, fearing his father would inflict real harm upon him. A few minutes later, after much griping from both sides, they emerged from the bathroom. “What do you think?” His father asked me. Running my hand across his freshly shaven face I replied, “There is my handsome boy…”  Looking down, the boy replied, “I beg to differ and it’s my face, so…” Shaking his head back and forth his father replied, “Why do kids always think they no better than their parents when obviously they do not?””Nature of the beast,” I offered, before we gathered our luggage together on our way out the door.

Smart boat….

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One of the universities the boy is interested in attending held a scholarship testing day on Saturday, in which they asked him four logic questions before a brief interview and then held informational sessions for specific courses of study. “There is nothing here that can hurt you today…” The head of admissions announced to the crowd, “Only things to help you,” She added hoping to put the kids at ease. Tell me, do you all know what a smart boat is?” She asked and we all sat silent. After a beat she said, “It’s a Scholarship!” which made us all groan, then chuckle, before they got down to business and administered the exam to the students. Due to his recent autism evaluation, the boy qualified for additional time given and was escorted to another room to take the exam. Meanwhile, us parents were led away to another area, where the admissions head and the dean of students discussed the test and answered any questions parents had.

After the fifty-five minutes were up, we all came back to the auditorium, before splitting up by major to listen to the department heads discuss what the future degree looked like. The only problem being, the boy was no where to be found. Approaching our student contact I asked, “Where’s the boy?” “He’s still taking the exam,” She replied. “Grrrr” my husband said adding, “I’m not an advocate of the extra time. He’s going to overthink all the answers instead of getting to the point.”  About twenty minutes later, the boy entered the classroom, after finally finishing the test. “Bay what took so long?” I asked. “I thought what the heck, take your time, do my best. Turns out I was the last person done.” He replied.

After a brief lunch, the boy left to interview with a department head, while the hub and I waited his return. We struck up conversations with other parents, wondering where their children were looking and how far away from the school they lived. Turns out many of them were interested in the same school choices as my son. I laughed saying, “Who knows, we may meet again in a few weeks on a different campus,” while the other parents nodded in agreement.

Because the boy is also interested in journalism and theater, we were invited to listen to a presentation on the theater department as well as given a tour of the radio and television station located on campus. Afterward, as we approached our car, the boy remarked, “Before I come back to school here, I’m going to need better traction on my tennis shoes,” Which made his father and I take notice, encouraged by his optimism but guarded just the same.

 

a short short…

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The boy did not make the top five in the Super Fellow contest, which would have ensured his need to attend the Sadie Hawkins dance next weekend, but he didn’t seem too disappointed. “Are you upset?” I asked with true sincerity. “Not really…” He replied. “Well, I mean you bragged to me how you campaigned all day yesterday…” I returned. Thinking for a moment, he responded, “I had fun talking with everyone so that in itself was a win and now, even better, I don’t have to go to that dance.  Double wins!!” He said with a laugh. “I guess ‘A’ got smart this year and asked someone else this year?” I wondered. “I have no idea…” He replied, then mutually we allowed our end of the conversation to drop. Changing subjects, I began my interrogation of his sister. “What about you doll, are you going to the dance?” I asked. “No. If the boy had been nominated I would have gone in support of him, but since he didn’t…” She said. “What there’s no boy you would like to…” “NO” she said loudly; interrupting me, while I smiled in return. What about your friends, are they going?” “Um, I’m not sure…” She replied and then changed the subject to something else.

“Mom there was a girl from my class who got kicked out of school!” Did you know her?” I asked. “No, but she was in many of Allie’s classes and every time she saw me with her, she glared at me…” “What does that mean?” I asked, but was summarily ignored, “She was thrown out for threatening a teacher. Apparently she has some mental issues, which only makes me more worried since she use to glare at me…” “Doll, if she’s no longer in school, that glare can’t hurt you. As for the rest, say a prayer for her and her parents. What an awful thing to happen to their child…” “Mom, can’t you stop being a mom for once and be on my side?” My daughter said causing my to pause for a moment before answering her, “Doll, I’m always on your side, however, if you should happen to become mental and get thrown out of school for threatening someone, I would hope that others would pray for you and me to find some help…” I replied. Realizing she was wrong, she said, “I know, you’re right…”

(Yes, I’m gloating–she said I was right–a rare occurrence indeed!)

***

copious amounts of time…

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The other day on our drive home, the boy, who enjoys listening to his own voice; decided to fill me in on a project he’s undertaking, “I’m writing a campaign for my buddy’s,” He said. “A campaign? For what?” I wondered. “A campaign for their D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) game…all you need is a good story and knowledge that they will never follow the script,” he said and then elaborated, “You see, I’ve got copious amounts of free time which will allow me to write a comprehensive adventure for them…” “During study hall?” I asked. “No, I actually do school work there, but after school there’s just crazy amounts of free time…” He added and smiled, happy with himself. “Really!” I replied, not letting on what I really thought.

****

Since then, his father and I have called him out on all that “free” time. “Bay why are you getting a C+ in  Newspaper?” I asked. “Deadlines, I’m having a problem with deadlines,” he replied. “How can this be when you have COPIOUS amounts of free time?” I asked and was met with a frustrated groan. “Get the work done before anything else bay!” I commanded.

When I arrived home from work Tuesday evening, I found the boy seated on the floor removing carpet nails from our sub floors. “Hey, whatcha doing?” I asked him. “Dad has me pulling out these nails,” He said adding, “This is really cutting into my homework time”. “Homework? Isn’t that what your study hall is for oh but wait, who am I kidding, you have that copious free time you can use…” I added sarcastically.

“Mom, I think you’re adding more weight to that word than you should,” The boy said in reply. “But you’re the one who told me, ‘I have copious amount of free time’, so much free time that you can create these campaign thingy majigs for your buddies when they’re playing D&D…” I replied. “I just like saying the word ‘Copious’, I think it’s a cool word and in doing so I may have exaggerated how much free time I actually have…” He tried but I wasn’t budging. “If you’re not going to find a job to fill that ‘copious’ amount of time, then don’t be upset when you’re father and I find jobs for you…non paying jobs at that,” I added before walking out of the room chuckling to myself.

As one might imagine, the boy and his draining copious time, was not amused.