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11:10 a.m. - 2012-08-07
The Boy's Latest Adventure

I had to laugh, after spending the last two days putting my life in order physically, financially, emotionally, and settling the interpersonal stuff with the guys I came downstairs this morning and stepped in a pile of dog poop. On the new hall runner, no less. The spiffy new runner I'd gotten last week to put down over the big sisal rug in the foyer which has a cat barf stain right in the middle of it.

Right?

It was cleaned up fairly quickly because the new runner is made of that super carpet designed for high traffic areas and has stain and crud release woven into it. And feet are easy enough to wash, if not the most pleasant thing to do first thing in the morning. I have to wonder though why can't the damn pets make their messes on the linoleum? And Princess has ZERO reason to be pooping in the house anyhow. She goes out at least 6 times a day. Feh.

On another topic of confusion, I am rather astonished by the idea there are actually people who haven't decided who they're going to vote for yet. I don't believe there truly is such an animal. The 'undecided' voter is as mythical as unicorns. What I do know is the next three months are going to be horrible. A wretched schoolyard game of "Gotcha last!" orchestrated by some really, really rich guys who are sitting back and watching the 'fun'. Delighting in watching ordinary folk tear each other to pieces over stuff that doesn't truly mean anything. The trenches get dug deeper, the animosity ratchets up to unbearable proportions and the hatefest will go on and on and on.

I'm sick of it. And I don't want to hear it. I refuse to be drawn into these bitch-slapping contests anymore. I'll vote my conscience, you vote yours and that's it. So please shut up.

Thank you.

Wolf got an invite to go camping with Mack and his family again. I wasn't sure if I was going to let him go. Last year's trip went okay, but they weren't very far away and the trip was only 4 days. This time the trip is way upstate and they'll be gone a week. The pros and cons were about equal, though the cons seem scarier. Things like someone would have my kid in their car and the potential for stupid seemed to go up exponentially the more I thought on it. In the end I opted to let my son have the adventure. There's reasonable risk assessment and then there's squelching his life in the name of safety. Wolf is 15 and a scant 3 years from when the law says he's an adult who can do everything except buy porn and beer. I thought about when I was 15. I had two jobs, I was on sports teams, had a boyfriend with a car, I could cook, drive a snowmobile, shoot a gun, and navigate my way around NYC on the subway. I obeyed my parents' rules so I had somewhere to live, but I was already years past when I sought out or accepted their counsel on anything. Once outside their door I was my own person. A naive one, young and kind of unsteady, but my life was my own. I made my choices, took my lumps, and at 15 had a whole wealth of experiences- good and bad.

I know times are different. I know I paid for my freedom dearly sometimes. The world can be a harsh place. Then again the world never treated me as badly as I got dished at home. To me home was the dangerous place and the outside world was my escape. Wolf's life is not like that. He's never felt the need to flee. Sure, sometimes he has the desire to go and do, but that's normal. As it should be.

And so. There's the next three years, long to Wolf, short to me, and then PLUNK! He'll be 18 years old, a high school graduate and technically free to do whatever he wants. Buy a car, get married, join the military, go away to school, or simply pack a bag and get into the wind. Will he go right away? Doubt it. But he could. And isn't it my most important job to see he's ready for that? Yeah, yeah, I taught him table manners and to put the seat down. I'm teaching him to use the stove and his brain (occasionally). What I can't teach him is how to rely on himself. That lesson is only learned when I'm not there. A scary proposition for any parent, scarier for me because of Wolf's Asperger's and his scattershot and always lagging understanding of the way Life works.

Wolf's ability to extrapolate and apply his previous experiences to new ones is almost entirely absent. It's not that he can't learn, it's just that his mental filing system is incredibly rigid and source specific. Something that happened on a golf course can't be applied to the beach, even if in both cases it was some conman wanting money. Or a bully spoiling for a fight. Or some 25 year old who thinks he's cute and wants to get him in her bed. Each thing in Wolf's life stands alone.

To most people life is an archipelago, wee islands above the water but connected beneath. Not Wolf. Everything in his view is an individual island. Free and disconnected from all the others. It took years and years for him to grasp the concept of 'school'. To get that the standards of behavior and rules applied everywhere within the building during his school day. To Wolf just because the rules in Ms K's classroom were that he stay in his seat and do his work there was absolutely no connection to his doing the same thing in Mr G's classroom. Just because hitting and spitting were not okay in the cafeteria didn't mean he couldn't hit and spit in the gym. He lacks the ability to go from the specific to the general.

Well, he's getting better at this. Long years of work on his, mine, and his teachers' parts. Wolf has acquired something of a fallback position in that he's learned to ask. "Is it okay if I...?" Sometimes people, Mick especially since he gets this the most, are impatient with Wolf asking permission to do the 'obvious'. That's the thing though, it's not obvious to Wolf. Just because it was okay to help himself to the candy in the dish at Gram's house doesn't mean he should and can have a candy at Miss Steph's or help himself from the mint dish at the diner.

I laugh to myself sometimes because my friends always comment on how mannerly my son is. Of course it's manners, but it's also my boy carefully edging out into the unknown and he's become gun-shy and wary about screwing up. So he asks. He always asks. A good thing in the main but it also leaves him vulnerable to the assholes of the world who sense an easy mark. By asking Wolf is saying he doesn't know the rules and can be conned into doing the wrong thing. Sometimes. He's learning to see for himself what's right and what's wrong. He knows now that violence, stealing, and picking on people smaller and younger than he is is always wrong.

And what does this have to do with a camping trip at Lake George? A lot and very little. Will he be going with his best buddy and Mack's extended family who know him at least a little? Yup. But Mack's father has a VERY different view about how to raise kids, especially Aspie kids. So will Wolf have to stick up for himself and his values and his own understanding of the rules? Yup. Will he have to make decisions on his own? Even 'simple' things like helping himself to food and going off to the bathroom by himself? Yup. Will Wolf know when he should offer to pay his own way at waterparks and historic sites and when he should just relax and be their guest? This will be something for Wolf to figure out on his own. Fortunately Mack is a good kid. His father is kind of a butthead, but Mack is a lot like Wolf. Truth be told, if there's devilment afoot I can almost guarantee MY kid will be the instigator. Mack fears blundering afoul of the rules much more than Wolf does. Mostly because Mack's father is a jerk and can be overly harsh and mean. But Wolf will be in Mack's father's (non)tender care for a whole week and my boy is going to have to step up and trust himself. Wolf is going to have to suss out the nuances and the rules of situations not already within his experience and I won't be there to explain.

A good thing. Absolutely a good thing for my kid. But a hard and scary thing for his old mom. The mom who loves him and always, always wants to spare her boy unnecessary hurt and confusion. The mom who also understands the only way for her son to really learn to use his wings is to let him thud to the ground over and over until he figures out how to fly on his own.


Wrapping long arms around my kid who will be far away and yet letting go too, ~LA


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