Casual Cruelty

I have returned from the drop off at school again today in tears. My boy, a beautiful, curious and sweet boy of nine years of age, has again bravely entered a world that is confusing, lonely and quite incomprehensible at times.

He has autism. This is school and, indeed life, for him.

All the way to school he asked to come home with me. I had forgotten his afternoon tea bag but said I would come back with it. That was a bad start. Anything out of the ordinary can make him feel unsettled and  unhappy. Lucky for me today, he was feeling pretty upbeat and the begging to return home stopped when we pulled up at the gate.

Our neighbours pulled up behind us. She is my friend and the boys are in the same class. We tried to wait for them but they seemed to be going very slow and I realised the boy didn’t want to walk in to school with my boy.

So, like always, I put my head down and kept going.

We put my boy’s bag where he has been told to put it so that he has a regular comforting spot. That place was taken and even after I moved some bags along, my neighbours boy pushed our bag into a hard to get to place, squashed up, inaccessible.

If I wasn’t there I’m pretty sure my boy’s bag would be on the ground. Pushed off. Left there.

And yesterday, one of the boys made my child wait an eternity while he got what he wanted out of his bag before he let my boy put his bag in his designated spot. I was watching.

We rushed to assembly after the bell and I told my son where to line up in age lines. He was heading there when the neighbours boy ran in and took the first place in the line. My little boy gets confused in all that morning rumpus so I told him to stay behind “Jack”.

Next thing you know, Jack has seen people he would rather be with and taken off to a group of boys at the end of the line leaving my kid confused and not sure if he is doing the right thing.

Nobody said hello to my beautiful boy. Nobody ran at him to greet him. He had just been at home drawing amazing pictures of garbage trucks filled with “trash” and a moose with a beard and telling us poems he had heard. But when he enters this place he is not valuable. He is not a person with wit and caring and a sparkle in his eye. He is the special boy. He is alone.

Winter’s here!

Yesterday was the coldest day this winter I think – it was pure windy misery! And I loved it! Not having lived in a REALLY cold country where people are seriously inconvenienced by the weather on roads and in schools, I just love the feeling that we can all shut our doors and hibernate and cook steamy delicious stews for the kids when they stumble in half frozen! What fun!

I had some left over roast lamb that my big girl (ten years) made old fashioned Shepherd’s pie from when she got home. She (who prefers not to eat vegetables at all) loves this recipe that calls for every vegetable known to man to be cooked in a secret recipe passed down from my great grandmother.

My mother loved this in her childhood in the city. My brother and I loved this in our childhood on our farm. Now my little (naive yet sophisticated in her own way) girl patiently chops and stirs under the guidance of her grandma until it is JUST right. She hates cheese on top of the creamy mashed potato while I adored lashings of it in my youth. I guess if she passes the recipe on it will be basically the same but have minor changes depending on the tastes of the time.

She was so very happy with herself. And so were the rest of us! Yum.