I love to watch his mind work. Watching his actions, his moves, its as if his whole body is talking – while he barely utters a few words that make sense to anyone else around him. But he isn’t silenced. He says what he wants, with or without words, and his opinions are strong. So strong for such a little boy who isn’t so little anymore.
He rearranges our small tree. All the greens on this side, while the other colors are haphazardly scattered on the rest. Sometimes another color will make its way to the green side, and a melt down erupts until all the colors are placed back where they belong, and all is ok in the world again. He picks the green candy out, and tosses the rest to the side. Green. Holds a special place in his heart for sure, but it isn’t his favorite color. Orange. Orange is the color. The color of his socks this morning. The color of his pjs at night. The color he draws with, and picks out among his trucks. Orange steals his heart. But green. Green is the color choice of the season. And only green will do.
Under his bed he slides. Arranging whatever treasures he has deemed important. Sometimes he stays there for long periods of times, and other times he flops on the floor in front of the tv, or the fire. Like a lazy dog he stretches out. Then giggles. The giggle that is infectious. He talks to himself, for hours at a time and eventually rejoins the world.
Everything has a place, and there is a place for everything. He runs a neat and tidy ship. As best he can. All his trucks are accounted for, each has a name. The correct name. He can show you them in a book, and point them out on the streets. The wealth of information is outstanding, considering I don’t even know where he learned it from. I mix their names up, daily. And certainly hear about it. Names are important.
He marches into school as if he owns the class, such a difference from the first time he
set foot, was dragged in. He follows his routine, set solely by himself. No one told him to, no one taught him how. But everyday he repeats his steps. As if he knows the structure satisfies his active mind. He smiles at his teacher, who smiles back. She tells me he is a good kid, she loves having him in her class, and how well behaved and mannered he is. I smile, knowing those well manners and behavior are things he does to please her, and only her, because he knows she loves him, and he wants nothing more than to please her.
As if he knows people deeply, he offers up a small sample of himself to them. Individualized to each person. Caring, he is. Such a smart kid, with great potential.
But at what cost?
On days that he rolls out on the wrong side of the bed, when the green mixes with the blue, and the orange socks are missing. When breakfast gets soggy too fast, and there is snow on the ground. When he isn’t feeling up to par, or he is just in a bad mood. When the smile fades, and the laughter is gone. When he doesn’t understand what is going on in his mind, and everything is coming at him at once and he just. Cant. Stop. Things. When no one can offer him any sympathy or support or an understanding ear. When he doesn’t know how to say whats going on, and he cant do anything else but scream.
Because the world is just too much.
When hes a little quieter, and he shuffles into school, eyes darting across the floor, not daring to look at anyone. When he screams for me not to leave, and the tears are plenty. When he comes home with a new scrape, bruise, or bloody nose. And notes. Oh the notes. The notes that keep me up at night. “He had a bad day…” they say. And go on to explain what took place. When he wasn’t in the comfort of his own house. When he slips under the bed unnoticed, except for the bare leg that sticks out.
On the days where MY mind runs ramped, and the thoughts are heavy.
I wonder. And I worry. What will his future hold? How will he cope when he can no longer fit under the bed and hide out until the worries of the world fade away? How will he hold a job when ten minutes in he will need to run out screaming, just to release the pent up things in his head? How will he go on to live in a world so foreign not only TO him, but OF him?
How? How do I help him. How do I prepare him. How do I keep the green ornaments on one side, and the orange socks always clean? How do I reach him? Teach him? On days when the negative commentary is so loud, I just want to cave and give in. But give in to what? To who? How do I save him from himself?