Recently, I was walking through a parking lot with Adam on our way into one of his activities. Suddenly, a younger boy jumped out of his mom’s car and started tearing through the parking lot. The boy didn’t stop. He didn’t look. Completely speechless, I watch this scene unfold. The mother begins to scream out of sheer panic. Before I had time to even think about reacting, the mom developed superpowers like the old ‘Stretch Armstrong’ doll, and reached out from what seemed like nowhere grabbed her son by the collar and started to lay into him. As I am standing there, still in shock, Adam calmly walks over to him and yells:
‘What was your brain thinking?’
Then Adam turns to me and says:
‘Mom needs to tell that boy’s mom to pay attention and to tell him to follow the parking lot rules’
So here’s the thing. ‘Mom’ didn’t need to do anything except wish that I had a big stiff drink in my hand and pray that a huge sink hole suddenly appeared beneath my feet and swallowed me up.
There is no other class that I can switch Adam to, for trust me, I have investigated it. So each week, I continue to drop him off and run into this mother and son and continue to feel mortified. Oddly enough, Adam and this boy have developed a pretty tight relationship since this incident in the parking lot. Adam for sure doesn’t feel one ounce of remorse for his actions and maybe this boy appreciates his honesty. Kind of strange how these things work sometimes….
I go back over the countless times that Adam has exercised his verbal ‘stream of consciousness…Here are a couple of my favorites.
There’s the lady in church who was singing at the top of her lungs one Saturday evening. I could see various parishioners turning ever so slightly, looking out of the corner of their eyes at the woman. Oblivious or not, she just kept singing away, until my son says out loud:
‘That lady needs to stop singing. It’s hurting my ears’
There were stifles of laughter all around me. He just said out loud what we all were thinking.
Church seems to be the breeding ground for his comments, for on Ash Wednesday a few years ago, we arrived at church only to be greeted by standing room only. Adam belts out:
That one in the purple (our Pastor) needs to hurry up and ‘slap’ the ashes on everyone’s head so we can get out of here. Everyone around us started to chuckle. Once again, he just said what everyone was thinking.
I can be embarrassed all I want. He will never be. I tell him over and over that he can hurt people’s feelings by being so honest. He tells me that ‘being honest is a rule’. Well, yes….. Oh, my goodness! Sticking hot pokers in my eyes would be a better alternative than continuing to engage in this conversation!
The other day, as I watched him bounce out of musical practice, singing some made up song about ‘tiggy jacks’ ‘zon, zondrids’ ‘plow holders’ and (of course) mom’s ‘Boincy Bouncy Butt’, I realized that he was oblivious toward his actions. Any other middle schooler would never even think about dancing out of school like he did. In fact, his brother Alex was walking a good 50 feet behind him. Adam calls it like he sees it, does whatever he wants, and is completely happy that way. Fortunately, or unfortunately, he certainly makes his presence known wherever he goes. This got me to thinking…..wouldn’t it be nice to say whatever was on my mind with no remorse, and break out into song and dance whenever the urge struck? I’m sure that I would worry less, and my stress would melt away!
Fast forward to this morning. Adam rarely pays attention to the television. His only interests in the screen are Minions, and YouTube videos of Metra Trains and Helicopters. But for whatever reason, he was interested in the footage of yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels. As he studied the faces of the survivors, and the family members talking and crying, he asked me:
What are those people feeling? (It truly baffled me that he had to ask. He tells me often that he only likes to be happy.)
They are sad.
Because a lot of people where hurt and killed yesterday.
Because there are many people in the world that don’t like each other.
All of those people just need to use their words and talk. (Once again, he’s calling it like he sees it.)
He picked up his backpack and skipped out the door on his way to the bus, singing his made up song again….showing very little understanding of the sadness, if any.
As Adam’s teachers, therapists, and his social workers continue to try to teach him the meaning of his feelings. I sometimes truly wonder if this is even possible.