Dylan has always been a quite kind of kid. Not one to push out there and seek attention, but rather happy to be by himself, with himself, and if anyone wanted to be with him, they would have to prove themselves to him first. Its just how hes always been. Never asking for help, even if he needed it, and often going to the extremes before someone would realize how much help he really did need. But even then, he wouldn’t ask. The quiet kid. Shy. Self-absorbed. And mentally handicap are all words that were tossed around at one point in time to describe his quiet personality. Sure, hes quiet. Yea he might be shy at first. He may appear to be self absorbed, but he is really the most selfless of any of the kids, and he there is no mental handicap about him.
Dylan is often referred to by others as the “Forgotten kid.” Aside from having some rough starts in school, he has done fairly well in everything he has done. He needs prodding like most boys his age to shower regularly, clean up after himself, and finish his homework, but often hours will pass with no sign of him.
When he first came to live with me, that first year he had no friends. He didn’t make any friends, didn’t seem to want any, and was his happiest by himself…or with his sister. His sister – who he always made sure was within eye sight. Or arms length. His sister who he loves and dotes on more than any other human being. His sister who he torments and tortures with a sparkle in his eye.
This year has been a different kind of year. Not just for me, but for the kids as well. When Madison moved to a new school, leaving her brother behind, it was rough. I wondered how he would handle it, having been by or near her side for most of his life, he was now going to be forced to attend school, without her on the premises. He would have to ride the bus, alone. And find his classes, without asking for help, and without the security net of his sister there.
Hes done great.
When Madison first started to separate herself from him, push him away a little, and branch off on her own, I had to wonder how he would handle this. This change. The newness of life. The separation from the one person he knew best.
But he has handled it with an attitude that only he could. And he has been fine.
He has a small circle of friends, but doesn’t need to spend great amounts of time with them. He still prefers to be himself. To be alone. Which is how he seems the happiest.
Lately, however. This quiet kid has been talking out. And talking back.
Which isn’t exactly getting him good places.
I left on a work related trip about two weeks ago, and just before I did, Dylan and I were alone in the car, driving home one dark night, while he spilled what was on his mind. Something that I don’t think he has ever done, and I doubt he will ever do again. A small glimpse into what goes through his mind, or perhaps just the overflow of what was in there.
He talked about suicide.
It left an uneasy feeling in my mind when I left. And a few days later I realized it was going to be five years since their dad took his own life. Related or not, I couldn’t be sure.
When I returned home, I learned that Dylan had gotten into some trouble at school. He fought with another kid, and talked back (or yelled) at a teacher when she tried to stop him. Related or not. I couldn’t be sure.
Having talked to his teacher, and Madison I have pieced together what I can safely assume happened. Someone said something, and it made him mad. Not a lot makes him mad. And when he gets mad, he doesn’t often fight, or defend himself. Hes a quiet kid who stays to himself. So for him to get mad, that mad, and fight over it, means it had to have been something major atleast in his mind. His teacher didn’t say what it was over, and she didn’t call him out on it. She didn’t get him in trouble, send him to the principle, or anything else. She mentioned getting him therapy, and a few other things, and that was the end of the conversation.
I talked to him briefly about the incident, and he got real quiet, indicating that he really wasn’t comfortable talking about it. I didn’t want to push, and so I dropped it. I don’t need to know what it was over. I don’t need to hear that he needs therapy. I don’t need to know that hes been through a lot and this is just him reacting, because hes been suppressing everything. I don’t need to hear hes a bad kid.
I just need to know that hes ok.
And while I know he is.
I just don’t trust my sense anymore.