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.

My beautiful boy’s drawing of Puss in Boots on Donkey in ” Shrek”!

My beautiful boy's drawing of Puss in Boots on Donkey in

My little boy has autism and he draws a lot! He could talk your leg off about things he loves or is interested in! He has obsessions. He loves Schleich animals and often gets one if he is good or tries hard at school. He loves swimming! And he loves movies. Shrek movies are a favourite!

He uses drawing as a form of communication as he discusses what he is drawing and shows you and asks you questions about what he has drawn! He is so prolific that we run out of paper all the time and are surrounded at all times by his master pieces! So beautiful!

Relay for Life – Raising money for cancer!

Yesterday our lovely neighbour rang to ask us to go with her to an event called “Relay for life” that is held every year in our small town to raise money for cancer research. Her brother in law helps organise the event and is a survivor of leukemia. Our boy was at his Grandma’s house for a visit so I decided to go and see what it was all about with my two girls (aged 11 and 10).

We were a bit taken aback when we went into the hall as there weren’t many people there and the ones that were had tables that were full. Then our friend found us with her two small girls and we signed up to do the walk and paid $60 and received our “free” Relay for Life official shirts.

There were a couple of speeches to welcome us and a lady I have known since I was 7 got up and told about how she beat cancer 25 years ago. People were everywhere with sashes over their shoulders that said “Survivor” or “Carer”. It was a lovely sight to see.

Next we congregated outside for the ceremonial walk of the cancer survivors and families. The group was all dressed in purple carrying a banner supporting “Relay for Life”. The next group was the children who walked around the track, representing hope and health and future.

During the afternoon we ate cake, played Trivia, met friends, danced to dreadful songs, had a juggling competition and finished with an auction of donated goods from all over town.

My girls loved it so much that I left them there with my neighbour while I went home to my son. (He has autism and really doesn’t like loud noises and that auction was ear-drum piercing!)

 My husband who just arrived home from 4 days away at work took my place at the gathering and came home hours later with happy, exhausted girls.

Cancer is very close to our heart as my best friend from university died at 36 years from brain tumours that they think came from a melanoma that she had had cut out 8 years before!

We love you, Kate! (1964-1999)

Lovely day out! Brilliant concept for a VERY worthwhile cause!