It was after school, he got in the car, arms folded and huffing and puffing. I hadn’t had the chance to say anything before he started spouting off unkind words about nothing in particular, just that everything in life was wrong and it was obviously my fault.
We’ve been here before. This is the hard part. My logical self knows that I have not said a word, so while his voice is directed at me, his pain is not my fault.
When we get home I make the bold statement that we will not be going into the house until we resolve this problem.
Let’s just say that was not what he wanted to hear and it wasn’t pretty but we eventually got to the root of the matter.
Sitting on the glider in our back yard he articulates to me that he is lonely at school and no one likes him.
When pressed for an example he retells a story of wanting to play Star Wars at recess but the other kids playing said the only character left was a Storm Trooper and he didn’t want to do that so he didn’t play and obviously no one likes him and no one wants to play with him.
This is the difficult mind. In his brain he doesn’t understand why he can’t be his own character and why when he throws a fit about it other people walk away.
The place in our brains where emotions and logic are related don’t exist for him. To think through how someone feels and what they think at the same time is too much. He can’t.
He always defaults to logic. Which means if it makes sense to him but doesn’t to others they are obviously wrong.
This hurts a mom. Deep down I cry for him. Who am I kidding, I was crying while he lay on my lap on that glider.
But not because kids don’t like him. I am fairly certain that if these kids knew what was behind this difficult mind they’d see what I see and he’d have more friends than he could count.
No, I cry for him. His inability to grasp this. His loneliness is often self inflicted but he can’t see it. He doesn’t understand it. His 7 year old neurodiverse brain just isn’t here yet.
We work on it. We come up with a plan. We are going to do 3 things:
- Listen for the word “but” because where there is a “but” that means there are choices.
- Ask ourselves “Can I be flexible?” because being flexible puts him in control (logic) and if he chooses not to be flexible places the emotional feeling of loneliness on the right person (him).
- Tell our friends how we feel and ask for other options because this helps us communicate what we need or want.
And then we talked about Star Wars and double light saber blades and drifted into a world I know nothing about but am learning to love.
Today I picked him up and I braced myself for the same anger and tears and lonely rage to emerge as it has for the last many weeks.
I asked about recess and how it went. Did you use any of our plan?
“Mom! I did!”
You see the boys wanted to play football and they assigned him a role he didn’t want (running back). He decided on choice #3 and asked for options. The other boys said he could be wide receiver or quarterback instead if he wanted. He chose quarterback.
He played at recess, with other people and didn’t feel lonely.
“Hope and sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not”
There is rescue: Today he did not feel lonely. Today he was able to use logic to overcome his difficult mind and be a “normal kid”.
There is not: He still does not understand the he creates his own loneliness and alienates people.
As he grows we will explore this more. But today, we will stick with the plan we made just yesterday on that glider and I, his mom, will pray for many more football games during recess.