The grass is never greener

August 13, 2009 at 5:16 am 6 comments

     As I watched C on the first morning of school, I also watched the boys in his class greet each other with fist bumps and high fives. C stood alone by the side of his class line and completely shut down. No words, no smiles, just a death grip on my hand strong enough to make me wince, while he looked straight ahead and fingered the picture of our dog he had stashed away in his pocket.

     Last year, C seemed to figure out that girls are good and boys are sometimes mean. Blessedly he missed much of the teasing directed his way, but there was definitely some awareness that the boys weren’t always nice. I watched him throughout the year as he eventually stopped greeting many of the boys in his class altogether. He just gave up and stopped trying with them. Part of me was happy that he learned to stay away from those who hurt him, but the other part of me wished he didn’t even realize they hurt him. 

     Of course, if C didn’t recognize the pain of being shunned, I would have a completely different child than I do. I am thankful for how far C has come over the years, and I remind myself it wasn’t really all that long ago (although it seems a world away) that we were worried he’d never break out of his shell and lead the kind of life he’s leading now. This is a child who wants friends with a desperation that is enough to make me cry but rejoice at the same time. Far more a blessing than a curse, C’s awareness of other kids and his desire to have friends sometimes brings him sadness but also delivers the greatest joy. My single most important challenge as a parent is making sure those two emotions counter-balance each other.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , .

Almost wordless Wednesday C-isms XVI

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. robinaltman  |  August 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Aargh! I ache for C just reading this, so I can’t imagine how tough it must be for you! I know this isn’t the same thing at all, but my younger son had no friends for the longest time. I went to the junior high first day, and saw that whole “everyone seems to fit in but Alex” scenario. He literally did not say a word to anyone, and vice versa. Then, at the end of eighth grade, he seemed to blossom all at once. Suddenly he seemed comfortable, and his social skills got better, and it clicked for him. Now he’s happily smoking crack with his friends.

    What I mean to say is, C’s young, and it could “click” for him at any time. Maybe it will just take a little longer. I’ll cross every digit I have for him.

  • 2. Erica77777  |  August 13, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    I’ve really missed you. I’m so glad to have you back!

    My heart hurts so much when I read the first-morning-of-school scene you have described and i can’t help but feel my face flush with anger when I read about the mean boys. The unfairness of it all kills me. It’s not enough that these kids should get to effortlessly glide la-di-da through complex social dealings (through nothing more than dumb luck in the neurological lottery) but they somehow also have the need to harass and bully those who have difficulty navigating the same paths?

    I am angry. And I know I need to stay focused to help sons like ours to have as many tools in their belts to deal with this kind of shit, but I am tired. Just know that you are not alone. Never alone. Somewhere out there and a couple years hence, my son will be clutching my hand with the same intensity as we face a schoolyard together.

    I’m trying to stay focused on how far these little guys have really come over the past few years. There’s a lot of hard work still ahead, but they have come such a very long way in their lives so far…

  • 3. therocchronicles  |  August 14, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Ouch. I’m seeing this start to happen with my neighbor’s son down the street and he’s FOUR! He’s picked up on what makes the Roc MAD and will tease him…we haven’t seen much of them this summer. Right now I’m not sure that the Roc understands but I see the glimmer in there and I hope it doesn’t stop his desire to try for friends. This is the stuff that people with neurotypical kids just don’t get.

  • 4. pixiemama  |  August 14, 2009 at 6:49 am

    I really believe there are friends out there for C, that he will find them, or, more likely, they will find him. I believe that. I can see him playing with them. Put all your energy into seeing C playing happily with friends, whenever you can. I know it’s “woo” but I think it helps.

    I mean, I picture us at a cafe drinking something entertaining and laughing ALL THE TIME. It gets me through my days, you know?


  • 5. mama edge  |  August 14, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Have you ever read “Spectrum Siblings”? Cale talks a lot about his high school experience. He too felt safer around girls. His friendship experience was a tough one, but I do think he was able to balance the pain and the sweetness that comes from connecting with peers. I bet C can do the same.

  • 6. Nitz Lane  |  August 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I have a son diagnosed with HFA about what I think C’s age is, I’m so happy I found your blog. I’ve got nothing to say really just to encourage you both and please continue to share your thoughs – it’s very appreciated.


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