There's a lot going on.
I guess it's best to start with the big guy in high school. Inclusion is a mixed experience, at best. He went to his first high school formal and stayed the whole time. The downside is that he didn't have a posse to hang with. The upside is that he is comfortable enough with himself for it not to matter. Much.
We had a teachable moment Friday night. I signed him up to do concession stand for the high school play. When I texted mom in charge to ask when and where we were needed, I was told that Nic wasn't needed, so don't come.
Yeah. No. I texted back that he wanted to do it, and we would happily see them later.
Except I'm not happy. I'm pissed. She specifically asked me who this was "because I can totally free you up."
Meaning: "If you aren't in/cool/one of us, no, thank you."
We get there early. I tell Nic he gets ice cream regardless. He walks in and balks, because he feels the cold front. I nudge him ahead. I can tell from his uncertain glances that he gets the vibe and is not happy. I shrug with my mouth, he squares his shoulders, and sits tight among the chatty girls who pointedly ignore him and the crazy stage mom who is watching him and the money box like a hawk.
When intermission breaks, it all changes.
Crazy mom is otherwise engaged and becomes the mayor of the table. The girls socialize. And Nic springs into action, engaging customers, explaining choices, and making change like no one's business.
In short, a lot of good stuff happens because he's back there.
And mom couldn't thank me effusively enough for bringing him. I exude gratitude in giving him the opportunity but am BEYOND fuming because it should not have been this difficult for either Nic or me to make this happen.
So Nic got his sundae and all was well in the world.
We had a sleepover at the Franklin last night. G was sick, so Nic went in his place. Six years ago, it was the two of us at the same place for the same reason. And I needed to go because I was running it.
Honestly, I did not want to go. I find everything hard lately. I was afraid of the drive in to the city, even though I've done it a million times. I was afraid I wouldn't find parking. I was afraid of a lot of little things. That's what happens when I get tired of fighting all my battles. I get afraid. And everything as a consequence becomes hard for me.
When things become hard for me, God makes them easier. A quick, scenic route appeared in my head, and I took it. Nic chatted and obliged when I asked him to stop if I became too overwhelmed. And amazingly, I pulled into the Franklin's garage, and a spot opened, right in front of the elevator bank at street level. Such a little thing, but such a big deal for some one like me who gets overwhelmed over the dumbest of things.
Everyone eventually showed up, and Nic and I, as we did last time, went off on our own. He had a happy, fabulous time. And I was happy to share it with him.
We ate breakfast and departed ahead of everyone else. I enjoyed the quiet ride home and beautiful foliage along Kelly Drive (Nic remained unimpressed until I told him we'd stop off at Dunkin Donuts on the way home). Gabriel greeted us happily and was thankful for his donut.
Church--brings me to a strange place, as we were seated behind a small boy who reminded me of someone Nic attended special preschool with. All the sudden, I was 12 years ago and doubled up in tears. The past tends to double me over when I least expect it. And I see myself and another mom, now almost decade ago in a focus group with tough-looking moms. Our boys are in K--theirs are in high school, in outside placements. When I voice my (positive) experience, one mom with short spiky blond hair, hard eyes and a leather jacket eyed me coldly and asked "Are we in the same school district?" The other moms laughed. I just met her cold gaze and wondered to myself how she got this way.
Ten years later, I totally understand how she got that way. By breaking down walls with her bare hands and wading through solid concrete up to hips for great distances. By sitting in countless meetings. By sending endless texts and emails, begging, pleading, then demanding on behalf of her child. By refusing to be ignored. By screaming "I AM" when people do their level best to ignore that you are. And that your kids are.
By making sure your kids get the bare minimum that the rest of their peers are entitled to by dint of their being like everyone else.
Oddly, I am not hardened by any of this.
But I do acknowledge that I am broken.
And somehow, despite that, I go on. Because my job in this world is my children, and God has entrusted them to me. To that end, He ensures that what needs doing, gets done.
His will be done. He knows I have none of my own anymore.