Monday, August 10, 2015
I've been on a bit of a tear this week. It's the last week before Nathan's senior year. Apparently, senior classes here declare this "Senior Week" and hold all forms of private gatherings, etc. Those of you raising special kids already know where this is going. We knew nothing about it. Nathan wasn't made aware of anything.
I freely confess. I "went Chernobyl". My Facebook status read "Apparently being autistic trumps being a senior." I was wildly angry with a rage fueled both by my anger for Nathan's being "forgotten" yet again, and by again being forced to watch my own early years replayed before my eyes with my child as the "protagonist".
Fortunately, both Nathan and I have allies. In this case it was a dear friend who LOVES Nathan. Actually, whether she or her daughter love Nathan more would make for an interesting mother/daughter blowout. The bonus of the deal is that daughter's boyfriend is quite fond of Nathan, and more importantly, respects him for who he is.
I contacted this dear friend via chat and WENT OFF. As all real friends do, she filtered all the shrapnel from the blast and saw what I was saying. One sentence and everything changed. She told her daughter. Daughter and boyfriend immediately volunteered to pick Nathan up and take him to the next party.
I have some great friends, but some go that extra step that defines an ally. Friends listen. Allies act.
Nathan had an amazing time at the party. It's his first, official "senior year memory". He got to make the same kind of memory that "everybody else does". His friends came in for a visit upon bringing him home. Apparently he was greeted by the crowd in a fashion that those my age remember as the "Norm at Cheers greeting". He walked up and a rather unified "NATHAN!!!" rang out.
Three people, that's all it took to change the ending of the "rerun" I was watching. Like military allies, our "life allies" saw us under attack from reality and came to our aid. The pictures from the party show my boy "with his people" and loving it. His smile and demeanor delivered an undeniable message.
The 800lb gorilla in the room at this juncture is my point of view. Do I choose to remain angry that he was forgotten by many who regularly profess their affinity for Nathan? No. I choose a different view. I won't "prosecute them as adults". These are kids. I refuse to believe that Nathan was "purposefully forgotten". Seventeen and eighteen year olds just don't have the maturity and life experience to be held to such a standard.
I choose to view Nathan's peers in light of his reception and treatment when at the party. Make note dear readers. For one brief moment, I'm setting aside my jaded cynicism and feeling very happy for my boy and proud of his peers, in spite of their "forgetfulness".
I was quite tempted to just keep this entry to myself and find some other topic. My self-imposed transparency standard wins again. My allies, though unidentified, deserve more than a simple "thank you". Their simple, but effective actions changed everything.