Saturday, August 24, 2013

Feelings: A Rabbit Hole of a Blog Post

Yesterday, Jess at A Diary of a Mom wrote a post called Trust, in which she talked about a post called Got Milk at Autisticook's blog. (See why I called this a rabbit hole of a blog post? If you're like me, you'll start following those links and I'll never see you again. It's OK; they're both amazing writers. So bye! See you later!)

For those of you who are still here or found your way back: Both posts touched me deeply. Jess's bologna story at the end of hers reminded me of something that happened just the other day with N (who is in MIDDLE SCHOOL now, you MIDDLE SCHOOL). I had meant to write it as a blog post here (as I've meant to do with at least one story a week since, oh, forever) but instead I left it as a comment on Jess's post.

Still, I think it's an important story for me to own here on my own blog, because it is, once again, about how my son teaches me more than I could ever possibly teach him. And while I want to kick myself for being so slow and/or so off so much of the time when dealing with him, I also want to give myself a pat on the back for at least being willing to be corrected and taught.

The other day, my 12-year-old ASD son came home from middle school and told me a story about a conversation with a boy in his class during school picture time, who had told him that he looked nice in his picture. N, who does not do well with even positive attention given directly, apparently told the boy to please stop saying that, and the boy, no doubt confused, told N that he was being “kind of a jerk.” 
In telling me the story, N looked at me indignant and said, “I feel like he was being a bully to me.” 
I tried to turn it into a social-skills lesson, pointing out that the boy probably felt attacked for giving a compliment, which is generally a GOOD thing, not a BAD thing. But N was having none of it; he kept insisting that it “felt like he was being a bully to me.” 
Note the exact wording of the quote. At the time, I was trying to press home my point, and ignoring the word “felt” for the word “bully,” trying to get him to realize he can’t go around accusing people of bullying him when they really are not. (He had gone to his teacher to complain about the boy, so that was a legitimate point for me to make; I felt badly for that kid, who has special needs of his own, and who had done something NICE for crying out loud and now was going to be put in a position of being talked to by the teacher? Sigh…) 
ANYWAY: Eventually, I just said, “All I can tell you is that that boy was NOT being a bully to you.” And N, angry now, started stomping to his room, only to turn around and say, “It FELT like he was. You’re not in my body, and you don’t know what it FEELS like.” 
And with that, I shut the hell up. Because YES. And because that was probably the first time he’d ever said something like that to me. And it was totally amazing. An amazingness that stuck with me, despite my also feeling like a complete idiot.
Remind me to tell you about this photo one day, OK? Because, OMG. Talk about teaching. Talk about grace under pressure. Talk about my amazing boy.