Yesterday, I made my Scary Mommy debut (!!!!), which is a bucket list item for a lot of female writers. You can read it here: http://www.scarymommy.com/author/audrey-hayworth/ . In it, I talk about things I want to tell someone whose child was just diagnosed with special needs.
I was just so excited about being on such a large platform, and then Monday happened.
I had signed the boys up for half-day camp at one of the local schools, which has always been a good experience for the them. Theodore has always struggled with going, because he hates to do anything at all that is outside of his routine.
He was anxious, but held it together while I walked him to his class. When I picked him up, I sensed immediately that something was wrong. That’s when the meltdown started that lasted four hours.
In an attempt to redirect, I took the boys to eat lunch at one of their favorite lunch spots, where we can eat outside, away from the larger crowds. There were still people, though, who were obviously bothered by his meltdown.
Like I said in my Scary Mommy post, people can be fucking assholes. In an ironic twist of fate, I needed my own words to remind me of how far we’ve come. This is not lost on me.
Anyhow, he calmed down for a bit, and he was able to verbalize what started the meltdown in the first place: he doesn’t know how to make friends. He’s fine when he’s with the kids at school, or at home when new people come over, because he’s comfortable there.
This kid is more self aware than most adults, even with his meltdowns. He’s an old soul, and he understands the way people look at him.
Anyhow, yesterday wore me the fuck out. All I could think about was going to bed, and when it was time to put the boys to bed, I was sitting at the kitchen table. He came and sat down next to me.
Theodore: Mom, you’ve taught me to be brave.
Theodore: Literally everywhere we go, you know people. Or you talk to people. Even the people bagging our groceries, you talk to them. Or know them. I learned to stand with people I don’t know while you talk to them. I had to be brave to do that.
He continued: But, I’m not brave enough to talk to someone without you standing there.
After I told him he was the bravest kid I knew, we made a goal that he would introduce himself to at least one kid in his class the next day. Baby steps.
I just dropped him off for his second day of camp and when he got out of the car, he said, ‘I’m going to try hard to be brave today.’
So am I. This child continues to teach me more everyday, including how to be brave.