Today has been a tough day, as so many of them are. It’s days like today when I really have to dig deep to remind myself that actually, my boys are superheroes.
To the outside world, they look like happy, healthy, “normal” little boys. Behind closed doors, we have two very confused, often angry little people, whose eyes have seen too much, whose hearts have felt too much, and who, at the ages of just three and four, know better than to trust the world around them. All too often, those emotions come out as a screaming, flailing, aggressive rage, usually directed towards me and Mrs S. It’s understandable really when you think about it, we upended their world, and not for the first time, when we brought them home; we chose this situation and they didn’t.
I’ve just read a little story on Facebook (yes, the source of all evil!) about not judging when you see children having a meltdown in public, or their parents, as the child may be autistic. I get that. But perhaps we shouldn’t judge any parent who is trying their level best, because we don’t know their story either. Just yesterday, Marvin and I were collecting Norman from school. It was a beautiful sunny day, we walked to collect him, it was all going well… right up until the point it wasn’t! It’s that quick with our boys, blink and the mood can change. Walking out towards the school gate all holding hands nicely, part of the flow of other parents, children, grandparents, carers… Marvin decided he wasn’t walking any more. He refused point blank, and sat down in the middle of the path, ready to be trampled on by the oncoming stampede of feet. So I scooped him to the side, and held him in my lap, and told him fine, we’d just have to sit there and he’d miss playing on his bike at home, and sent Norman off to play some more. As I predicted, after a few minutes it worked, he wanted to play, he was ready to walk home again. But I blinked again, and the mum of the two little girls playing nearby called their names, and as my bad luck would have it, they were exactly the same names as his foster sisters, which then triggered him to go into full meltdown and cry all the way home.
We made it home in the end, after some tears and cuddles and me being hit and kicked a good few times. I don’t know if any of the other parents looked or judged, because I have taught myself to block it out. I don’t want my boys to grow up using their background as an excuse for them to act a certain way, so I try very hard not to do it either any more. But we all have our own journeys, and some days we’ll all feel like we have a stone in our shoe when we’re walking them. Stones are fairly frequent for me at the moment, and probably for my boys too, but the time will come when our shoes are comfortable again.