Happy Independence… From the Christians

Jul 4 2017

I feel like it’s safe to say there are two kinds of people in this world: those who would never, ever, EVER laugh at people who experience developmental delay — you know, the conscientious, compassionate, kind type of person — and Terrible People like me.

It’s just that my two kiddos with disability have been entrenched in an argument that’s lasted days. They’ve yelled at each other. They’ve called each other names in ragey voices. They’ve rolled their eyes. They’ve tried to bait the rest of us into taking sides. And still it’s not settled why we’re celebrating Independence Day on July 4th.

Aden insists we’re celebrating independence from the Christians. Ian says we’re celebrating independence from the Nazis.

For a while, they were blaming the Jews, but they believed me when I said that wasn’t it. Whew! On the other hand, my contention that we’re celebrating independence from the British was met with unified derision. It was ridiculous when I suggested we’d need to be independent from the Land of Crumpets and Tea. I mean, what could we possibly be fighting against the British for? Their use of “chips” instead of “fries?” Their corner on the digestives market? No. Mom clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about. At least they agree on something.

Ian: It is the Nazis, Aden.

Aden: IT’S THE CHRISTIANS.

Ian: Nazis.

Aden: CHRISTIANS.

Ian: Evwebody knows Nazis are bad guys, Aden. Evwebody.

Aden: It’s the CHRISTIANS. … Wait. Mom, are we the Christians?

Me: I am, Aden. You get to pick.

Aden: Oh. KILL THE NAZIS then. KILL THEM DEAD. KILL, KILL, KILL.

Ian: Ha! I told you! It’s NAZIS. HAhahahaha! I am wight and you wong! Ha, Aden. HA!

Aden: Wait. No. KILL THE CHRISTIANS. Except Mom. KILL ALL THE CHRISTIANS EXCEPT MOM. Unless I’m a Christian. Then we KILL ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE.

In conclusion, even though I keep laughing at them, I feel like my kids have a general bloodthirsty grasp on this whole Independence Day thing and also theological schisms in general… Christians who flee religious persecution from Other Christians and arrive in a new land to persecute and massacre others.

I feel like we’re really slow learners, guys.

Also, I made blueberry cake to celebrate. And I’m going to go have a beer.

Wishing you a Happy Independence Day, fellow Americans!

With love,

 

The Definitive Answer to the Public, Private or Home School Question

May 22 2017

WE HAVE FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT. The answer regarding which is BEST — public school, private school or homeschool. After having our children in a cumulative 54 YEARS of school (five kids is a lot of kids, guys), we know the definitive answer, which is YES.

Question: Which is best — public, private or homeschool?
Answer: Yes. All of the above. Depending on the child, the year, the circumstances, the environments, the family, and the outside challenges, yes; each of them is the VERY BEST option.

Please understand; no one is more disappointed by this answer than I am. I was raised, after all, to believe in SYSTEMS. There are Good Systems and Bad Systems. My main job was to revere and adhere to the good ones like Evangelical Christianity, Public School, Republicanism, and Making My Bed Every Day.

Clearly, I failed.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Now, we’ve had our kids mostly in Public School over the years. We’re big fans of public schools. We’ve always voted for school bond measures and support tax increases that benefit public schools, even during the years we had kids in private school, because school bonds and paying for public education benefit all of us. In fact, we’re dismayed by reports this week that the federal government plans to gut public school funding and are wholeheartedly against Betsy DeVos’ plan which will undermine them horribly. Because blech.

So we’ve mostly had kids in Public School… and one kid in Private. But at least I didn’t do anything TOO radical like homeschool, you know? I had boundaries. LIMITS.

I mean, I wasn’t opposed to homeschooling in principle. I understand people can homeschool effectively. Especially if those people have things like a background in education and, well, patience.

I, on the other hand, LOVE sending my kids to school-school where school = Anywhere But My House.

I am the parent who NEVER CRIED on the first days of preschool.

I am the parent who ONLY LAMENTED PRESCHOOL DAYS WEREN’T LONGER.

I especially love school-school for the teachers. The TEACHERS, friends — real, not make-believe, who dedicate their WHOLE LIVES to educating our kids, preparing them for a future the teachers often don’t get to see. Yes; teachers are real but also MAGICAL. Teacher-fairies, if you will. And teacher-fairies put up with a LOT. Ever-changing rules, administrations, and markers for student success. They put up with PARENTS. They work weeknights and weekends and spend money from their own pockets to subsidize what kids don’t receive from the school budget. They receive lower rates of pay than jobs that require the same amount of education. And most of them are GOOD AT IT. Like, really great. Showing up day after day as a holy calling.

I, on the other hand, am not a teacher. Not by education. Not by calling. Not by talent. There are no teacher-fairies in this house. Which is why I decided to never, ever, EVER pull my kids from school-school and homeschool them.

^^^That’s what I said for YEARS.^^^

And I was RIGHT.

Except I just pulled my kid from school and I’m homeschooling him.

In retrospect, I’ve identified how this happened and will disclose it so you can avoid the same mistake: When our kids started school 100,000 years ago, we made a commitment to evaluate on an ongoing basis what each child needs from her or his education. <– That’s our problem, right there. Treating kids like individuals who may have different needs at different times.

And this kid? He needs to be home for a while.

We tried to get around it. We tried to delay and avoid going to HOMESCHOOL EXTREMES. But he asked on repeat that we reconsider. He wants freedom to fly through a higher math curriculum. He wants a break from the anxiety of attempting scholastic perfection. He wants to conduct computer and science experiments and to build a fort in the backyard. He wants more time to read for pleasure. It became more and more challenging to look this kid in the eye — this kid who adores learning, and is motivated, and already performs in the 99th percentile in his grade in every subject — and give him a reasonable answer as to why he couldn’t try. HE WORE US DOWN is what I’m saying.

So even though he had a teacher-fairy who was working her fairy magic…

And even though his twin brother is still going to the school-school…

And even though the school year is almost over…

And even though he has a mother who is not a teacher-fairy AT ALL…

Here we go. Homeschool is upon us.

It’s been just over a week now.

On morning one, I woke up with tiny thoughts of dread, like “WHAT HAVE I DONE?” And, “I CANNOT DO THIS.” And, “THERE IS A REASON TEACHERS ARE TEACHERS. It’s because they have an AFFINITY FOR TEACHING, and TALENT, and EDUCATION TO BACK THOSE UP. On the other hand, Beth, YOU ARE A FOOL AND A PRETENDER and YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN YOUR CHILD.”

And then Cai, the 4th grader, walked into my room and said, “OK, Mom, I have the schedule all figured out. I’ll be reading a time travel series for Free Reading time, and working on dividing fractions as a refresher for math in preparation for the more extensive curriculum you’ve ordered, but then I need you to take me to the library so I can study 19th Century French Architecture. Unless we already have a curriculum on 19th Century French Architecture somewhere around the house? No? Then definitely the library, Mom.”

And I thought, like I often do with parenting, “Hm. OK, then. Maybe I won’t screw this up quite so bad if I just get out of his way.”

So that’s the new plan. We’re homeschooling — the Thing I Said I’d Never Do. And maybe I can get far enough out of my kid’s way so he can fly.

So far, he’s studying exponents, chemistry via bread baking, touch typing, magnets, hard drives, and, of course, 19th Century French Architecture.

He’s happier than I’ve seen him for months. More confident. More engaged. More interested in learning.

And that — definitively — is the RIGHT school choice. At least for that kid. For now.

With love, friends,

I’ve Decided to Collect College Kids. Also, We Should Probably Pray for Greg.

Apr 30 2017

We’ve mostly been with Abby since arriving in Hawaii. Not a ton of time on our own. We’re helping her hunt for next year’s apartment. Doing the grocery shopping. Gasping over the cost of bread one minute (FIVE DOLLARS, you guys, and that’s for a cheap loaf) and piling All the College Kids in our car to force feed them pancakes at IHOP the next. It’s like feeding puppies, y’all; they’re just so wiggly and enthusiastic and grateful, and they look at you with those eyes, like, “You fed me, and now I’m yours forever,” and suddenly you’re all, “MORE PANCAKES FOR EVERYONE. EVERY KIND OF PANCAKE. ANOTHER ROUND ON ME,” and, “Can I KEEP them, Greg? Pleeeeease? I will do ALL the work. You won’t have to do ANYTHING. I will walk them EVERY DAY, and I will feed them and water them, and I will never ask you for anything ever again in my whole life if you just give me All the College Kids.”

I have searched, lo these many years, and I have finally found my calling; feeding college students. I was born for this. This is my sacred duty. This is my calling from the Lord. This is how I shall fulfill my destiny.

Greg says I can’t keep them, though. He says they don’t belong to me. He says we already have five kids and that five kids is enough kids.

I’m not sure about his logic. I think there’s a flaw in there. I’m pretty sure collecting College Kids isn’t the same as collecting Kid Kids since College Kids are technically grown-ups. Also, they’re way cheaper than Kid Kids because College Kids only cost you pancakes. Greg says they don’t only cost pancakes; he says they also cost tuition and fees and apartments in Hawaii. I say that’s practically the same as just pancakes; we can call it pancakes and sundries, and we’ll be fine. Surely, we can fit pancakes and sundries into our budget. How hard can it be?

Greg says I’m the one with flawed logic and that I need to work on my budgeting skills. Since I recognize an expensive loaf of bread when I see one, though, I’m not sure what he’s talking about.

Then he called me a cow, which was mean and temporarily put my Collect All the College Kids plans on hold.

Greg feels like it’s important at this point to note for the record that he did not call me a cow, but I was there so I would know.

See, we took one night to ourselves while we’re here. One night while Abby was studying with the rest of my Future Children to walk the beach in Waikiki. We found a little patio restaurant at sunset looking at Diamond Head. We took this picture and posted it on Facebook.

He ordered the pulled pork sandwich. I ordered the fish tacos. We eavesdropped on our neighbors’ conversations while I had a pretty drink, the color of the purple clouds in the azure sky.

Greg leaned over and took my hand. He looked into my eyes and said, “I really like that trough they served your tacos in.”

That trough, he said.

That… trough.

 

“Greg, did you just say I’m eating out of a trough?”

Greg looked afraid.

“NO,” he said. “I definitely did not say that.”

“Did you, Gregory, or did you not just say that this is my taco trough?”

“I DIDN’T,” he said. “I SWEAR.”

“DID you,” I asked, head tilted curiously to the side, eyes turning as black and alien as the approaching night sky, eager to swallow the human before me, “therefore liken me to a trough-like creature? Say, a horse? Or a cow?”

“NO!” he said.

And now, days later, he continues to deny it.

Whenever I want to mess with him, I just whisper, “trough.” He winces, and I giggle. I haven’t told him yet how many College Kids he has to let me keep for me to let the Trough Comment go; I’m holding that part in reserve for negotiations to be held at a later date.

In conclusion, let’s pray for Greg, friends. Although he must have committed some sort of heinous crime in a previous life to have to go through this one with me, he really is a dear and doesn’t quite deserve the eye tick I’m giving him.

Dear Jesus,
Please help Greg survive his trip to Hawaii.
And also his life with Beth. 

In your precious name,
Amen

 

 

 

P.S. Greg loves travelling with me. My family calls him Poor Greg. I don’t know why. He’s the luckiest.

MiniPost: Just a Little Fairy Dust

Apr 28 2017

I made it across the Pacific Ocean without dying in a fiery crash. A miracle, every time. Greg insists it’s the physics of aerodynamics, and I believe him, but only mostly. You know; like, I believe him, but only with my head and with logic. Not with my heart. You’ll never convince me there isn’t also fairy dust involved in air travel. Or a whole host off angels rolling their eyes as they hoist yet another tin can full of reckless humans on their backs and take them where they’re bid, grumbling all the while at the Lord Most High, “Oh, my GOD. If you would just LET THEM ALL TUMBLE INTO THE SEA FOR ONE DAY ONLY, they wouldn’t pull stupid crap like this EVER AGAIN.” But no. Nope. God keeps letting us do what’s crazy.

I made it. All the way here to Hawaii where my kid is finishing up her first year of college. We dropped her off 8 months ago, taught her how to use the bus, and bought Every Single Thing at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond. I spent 300% of my budget, I told her she didn’t have to stay, and that college was overrated, and that I was pretty sure she ought to give up on her dreams and move back home with her mommy FOREVER, because who doesn’t want that?? She said no, and told me I was going to be OK. She said I’d be fine, and I could do this, and I knew she was right, but I cried on the way home, anyway.

Now here we are, only a few months later. Hardly any time at all, but this time this is Her Place, and now, for the first time, I’m the visitor in a world she’s created for herself. She took me to her favorite beach and let me play Twinsies in the water with her, where we take pics of our stunning dance prowess and have people try to guess who’s who. She took me to her favorite restaurant with her friends — the one that’s open ’til 2am with the vegan peanut butter shakes and the cartoons playing from a projector onto the concrete wall. And, in the grand tradition of college students everywhere, she let me buy her groceries, but then she said thank you, because she knows now that food costs money, and money has to be earned, and that, while we’re glad to give it, it’s still a gift worth acknowledgement and gratitude.

Eight months is all.

A blink, really, and she’s grown.

Which we knew would happen, but only mostly. In our heads and with logic, you know? Because it’s part of the physics of becoming.

So of course she’s grown. It’s inevitable. But you’ll also never convince me there isn’t fairy dust involved in helping her fly.

Sending love, friends,

 

 

 

32 Things: A Day in the Life of, Like, EVERY PARENT I KNOW

Mar 26 2017

Just a quick review of the day, friends, in a list of 32 things. Honest to God, as much as I want to think today was unusual, honesty compels me to admit this is just like every day for, like, EVERY PARENT I KNOW.

  1. OK. I went to church this morning, but I couldn’t find my travel mug for coffee. My 4th grader suggested I use my whiskey flask. I was seriously tempted because whiskey flask + church makes me happy the same way profane embroidery + church makes me happy, BUT, contrary to public opinion, I do occasionally behave in socially appropriate ways, so I did NOT drink my coffee from a flask in church. I was simply late — as always — because I obviously couldn’t go until I found my travel mug.
  2. It was in the car.
  3. There was solidified milk in it.
  4. I didn’t gag when I cleaned it out — and it fell in one heinous, gelatinous, fetid mass into the disposal — because that’s apparently one of my super powers now.
  5. I was leaving the house with my clean, filled travel mug when I discovered the dog chewing on a glass ball she stole from the Christmas tree.
  6. Yes, the Christmas tree is still up and it’s the tail end of March.
  7. Yes, of course the ball was already in shards.
  8. Yes, of course I checked her mouth.
  9. Yes, of course it was full of glass. I pulled it all out. Piece by piece. She’s fine. No cuts. Sad dog, though, that I took away her toy.
  10. Yes, I got glass and dog slobber all over myself.
  11. No, I didn’t change my clothes. I’m not a rookie. If I changed my clothes every time I was encased in things like slobber and glass, I’d never do anything but change my clothes.
  12. I wiped off the slobber as best I could with someone’s sock, discarded for, I imagine, just that helpful purpose next to the door.
  13. I made it to church with coffee and without a trip to the emergency weekend vet, so goal accomplished.
  14. I came home.
  15. I made homemade stock. You know why? BECAUSE I’M A BOSS, and that’s what bosses do. BOOM.
  16. “Mom?” asked my kid, peering into the pot. “Is that a mole you’re making into soup?” 
  17. He didn’t mean mole sauce.
  18. He meant mole, the animal.
  19. It’s not a mole. It’s a piece of smoked pig. But I saw no reason to say so.
  20. “Yes,” I said. “Yes. We’re having mole soup for dinner. I caught a mole, I marinated it, and I threw it in the stock pot. Should be DELICIOUS.”
  21. “Huh,” said the child. “Am I allowed to add cheese?”
  22. “Yes,” I said. “You may add cheese. Cheese is, in fact, the traditional garnish used with any type of rodent soup.”
  23. “K,” he said, and he ran off to watch a video.
  24. I, in other words, have lowered standards SO FAR that my son thought a soup made from dirt-dwelling rodent flesh, albeit smothered in cheese, sounded acceptable.
  25. I have officially won parenting.
  26. I have not won dog-sitting.
  27. In fact, I had to come to terms this very afternoon with my dog, Zoey, leading sweet baby Hazel, a lovely baby Golden Retriever I’m watching this week for my cousin, astray.
  28. Unlike for mere slobber and glass, I DO strip down to wash muddy dogs.
  29. My kid videoed that bit, Internets. You’re welcome. Now you get to watch me sit in the bathtub in my granny bra and lecture the baby dog. “IF ALL THE OTHER DOGS JUMP OFF A CLIFF, HAZEL, YOU DO NOT JUMP, TOO.”
  30. I suspect this lecture will turn out to be as effective for the puppy as it is for my children. Which is to say, I suspect she’ll become a cliff diver any minute.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

P.S. Poor Hazel…

It Was a Cat in Heat. Or a Baby Crying. One or the Other.

Mar 24 2017

I rushed out of the house, wearing just my nightie, at 6:30am a couple days ago and peered over the front porch railing, looking and listening. I waited, silently, looking and listening more before I tiptoed down the front stairs and around the sides of the house to repeat.

No cat, though.

No baby, either.

The sound was totally gone.

I’d been laying in bed, dozing off and on for 30 minutes, listening to what I assumed was a cat in heat, yowling, then silence, then yowling some more when it occurred to me it might not be a cat. It might be a baby. Like, a human baby someone abandoned. And left on our porch. For me to find. Which I was not doing because my bed was very warm and the baby inadvertently sounded like a cat. Listen, we have discussed Lizard Brain and the fact that I have it, and once it occurred to me that it could be a baby — even though it really, really sounded like a cat holding a seance and trying to open a portal to the Netherworld — there was no way Lizard Brain was going to allow me to sleep. We can put this on the list of Things Lizard Brain Cannot Live With — FINDING OUT LATER THAT THE ABANDONED INFANT DIED BECAUSE YOU WERE TOO LAZY TO GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED, BETH.

So, fine, Lizard Brain.

Got it.

I hauled said ass out of bed, draped inadequately in an obscenely short nightgown which is fine for running around inside the house but less socially appropriate for, say, running around outside the house, and, with the sun poking over the horizon and plenty of daylight for all my neighbors to see me, I went traipsing around our property in my best imitation of Chubby, Barely-Clad Suburban Mommy-Turned-Spy-Ninja. Stealthy. Sexy. Focused on my mission. Not to brag, but it was some of my finest work to date.

I stayed out there for 15 minutes. Twenty, maybe. Barefoot on gravel. Looking under the porch. Sneaking around corners.

No cat, though.

And no baby, either.

The sound was totally gone, and, fortunately, after a quarter hour of frozen performance art for the neighbors, Lizard Brain was gone, too.

I headed inside and made my way back to bed.

Laid my head on my pillow.

AND HEARD IT AGAIN EXACTLY LIKE BEFORE.

Which is when I realized it wasn’t a cat in heat at all. Nor was it an abandoned baby. It was just Greg, breathing. Wheezing on the inhale. Like a cat in heat. Or a crying mini-human.

All of which is to say, Greg and one of the 10-year-olds left for Mexico yesterday to help build houses for people in need. They’ll be away for 10 days. I will miss them terribly. But not, you know, completely. 

#BEDtoMYSELF #SLEEPINGALONE #PRAISEJESUSandALLTHESAINTS

Sincerely,

 

My Kid Experiences Disability. He’s Potentially a Very Rad Human. Right Now, Though, He’s an ASS.

Mar 22 2017

Look. There are certain things that are harder to write than others. Mine tend to get a little flip flopped. Writing about the church? Ugh. HARD. Writing about pooping my closet? Surprisingly easy. So I’m not necessarily like everyone else when it comes to which subjects are agonizing and which are delightful, but, on this one, I suspect I’m like everyone else. Writing about my kid who experiences disability = hard. One of the hardest. Partly because I want to protect as much of his story as possible. And partly because there’s a sort of unspoken Hippocratic Oath among those of us who parent children who experience disability; we want, above all, to do no harm to these kiddos who already have enough challenges without their mommies making it worse by speaking out. You know? And so there’s an almost-covenant; if we DO tell our kids’ stories, we tell OUR PART ONLY. We tell the bits that help other mamas and dads like us know they’re NOT ALONE. We speak of our children in the BEST POSSIBLE LIGHT, always with sympathy, always with understanding. The world is already judging them, after all, more harshly than the world judges me or you, and we’ve made HUGE STRIDES over the last 5 or 10 years in helping the world SEE our kids as HUMANS FIRST and not CHALLENGES FIRST.

Disabilities of all kinds are less maligned than they used to be. We ARE making progress, at least among those of us who are kind and seek a diverse human experience. I see a new campaign every day to break down barriers. To increase understanding. To educate the public on how to treat each other. But, as a society, we still seem to need those who experience disability to be sweet and nice. To be cherubic. To be, if they experience difficulty, TRIUMPHANT about it, damn it. OVERCOMING their difficulties. And we’d like to hear about those difficulties after they’ve been solved, please. Never in the middle of them. Never, EVER. And so we rob those who experience disability of part of their humanity. Their ability to be fully, messily human when we insist they only have MAGIC and never mess. We make them caricatures of people so we can understand them in as few dimensions as possible; we steal their complexity and, in the end, part of their story, after all.

We’ve gotten to the part where we parents can admit raising kids — ANY kind of raising kids — and also raising kids who experience disability is HARD WORK. THANK GOD we’ve arrived there and parents are reaching out to each other to form networks and advocacy programs and person-centered decision making. THANK GOD and all the people who have made this happen.

We have not gotten to the part where we can share the full truth of what we experience.

But, friends.

Friends.

Friends.

I need to tell you a piece of that full truth now, because we Woolseys are in the MUCK and the MIRE right now, and we are NOT seeing the magic in the mess. We might someday. We cling to that as our future and carry that hope for our child who cannot carry it for himself right now. But today is not that day. Today is MESS, following days and days and months and months of more mess.

My kid — my kid with GREAT potential, who is beautiful and sensitive and had a HORRIBLE, HARD START in life and, since then, EVERY medical, psychological, mental and developmental reason for the very real challenges he faces every single day — is also an ASS right now.

Like, my kid is REALLY a jerk.

And it’s not Oppositional Defiant Disorder. There’s not some unearthed diagnosis here. We KNOW what this is — a large part is, in fact, medical — and we know WHY he does it, AND ALSO, he’s currently a big bully and his behavior is not OK. ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE TRUE at the same time. He has good reasons to be a jerk, AND IT’S NOT OK. Both/And, friends. Both/And.

My kid used to be kind. Truly, deeply kind, and he looked out for others. Lately, 95% of the time, he’s not kind. Not to his family. And, more and more lately, not to his peers, either. Nearly all of the words he uses these days around our house are intended to maximize rudeness, hurt others, or, if he accomplishes all of his goals in one fell swoop, both.

He punched his 10-year-old brother in the stomach a few weeks ago.

He told a kid at school he was going to kill him. “I didn’t mean it, Mom” and rolling his eyes didn’t go over as well as he hoped.

He uses his man-sized body to block people littler than him or stand imposingly over them while refusing to move — nonverbal threats of force.

He’s been banned by XBox Live for inappropriate (read: threatening) chats.

His Gmail count has been deleted — by Google, in an official decision — for the same. We have responded at this point by removing all access to everything online for the foreseeable future. Which, you know, makes him ECSTATIC.

These are not, in other words, cute misbehaviors or understandable one-off scenarios. These are consistent. Disheartening. Discouraging. Sad. And this is a child on the cusp of adulthood — knocking on the door of age 18 — so I often have to pull myself back from the brink of going Full Lizard Brain, all “FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW IS THE ONLY REASONABLE SOLUTION,” and assuming this is going to all end in a firefight with the police. The facts that he’s only ever at school or at home don’t seem to matter to Mommy Lizard Brain. She exists to call up the worst possible scenario, bless her catastrophizing heart.

Please understand, I am not unsympathetic to his behavior, nor do I blame the man child entirely. There are good reasons for this kid in particular to be a total raging asshole right now. In addition to intellectual disability, he is developmentally somewhere between an immature age 4 and age 6, with all of the impulse control that entails, while trying to navigate a 17-year-old body with hormones; he has expressive and receptive language disorders which keep him locked inside his head without the ability to talk things out the way you and I do, making for quite the pressure cooker of emotions and frustration; he suffers from anxiety and PTSD which he keeps on a tight leash at school and, therefore, unleashes entirely when he gets home; and, he is the perfect storm of social awareness — aware that he is different and desperately wanting to be cool with no real ability to navigate peer relationships in a socially normative way.

It is, in other words, a total cluster. Just an utter mess. This is a kid — a young man — who is trying to find his power and his purpose, and he’s found it very powerful to use his body and his words as weapons. To a person who feels otherwise out of control, having ANY amount of power is extremely seductive; he simply doesn’t have the developmental or intellectual ability to combat that right now. The problem is, we don’t know if he ever will.

I like to think, when Lizard Brain isn’t in control, that this is a phase.

I remind myself that many teenagers — myself at that age absolutely included — go through a raging asshole stage.

I remind myself of all the help we’re getting — from his school, from doctors, from specialist, from eating programs and emotional regulation, from my parents who are working tirelessly on his behalf to get him the additional services he needs.

I remind myself that my child who experiences disability is FULLY HUMAN, and all of this simply proves it.

I remind myself that he is also FULLY DIVINE, made in God’s own image, even if I want to drop kick him over the back fence right now and see if any of that damn divinity will shake loose so I can SEE SOME.

And, because I, too, am fully human, I succeed at those things some days, and I don’t succeed others.

So.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because my kid, like every person on this planet, is real. He’s complex. He suffers. He makes good choices. He makes terrible ones. He is not cherubic at the moment. He’s being rather awful, in fact. Part of being real, though, means being ALL MESS sometimes. ALL MESS with magic buried deep down inside.

Waving in the dark, friends,