So my middle guy comes home from school the other day and he goes about his usual noisy homework routine, which consists of a lot of backpack tossing and book slamming mixed with just the right compliment of paper shuffling and pencil sharpening. We are ALWAYS sharpening pencils around here! Everyday! Among all this I also hear some muttering and self – talking. This too is common practice for my Asperger’s kid who talks to himself quite a bit. While I am going through his sister’s backpack and sorting through her work, he takes off like a shot and runs up to his room.
Okay, so I will interrupt here to point out to my teacher friends that there is a reason not every bit of a child’s work is reviewed by the parents each day. Though you may not fully understand it unless you have more than one child at similar grade levels, when folders and backpacks hit the table it is every man and child for himself. Chaos is a norm …
So back to my story … really, there is one here! He comes down later and finishes up his many topics of reading and homework sheets and heads into the playroom with a piece of paper and his sister in tow. As they are chit chatting I hear Greg say, or actually yell in his monotone way that he yells when he is upset, ”But you had cancer and now you don’t …. you should understand Julia! Give me your money!”
Oh dear God! I can only imagine what I am walking into as I turn the corner into the back room. I am ready for my referee career to hit a new high as I see Greg holding the piece of paper, a pencil and 2 quarters. Wha – Huh?
He shows me the paper and I realize it is a Pledge Form for an event the school is doing for their Relay for Life team … yea, I know, one of my “favorite” fundraisers for my one of my “favorite” organizations, but that’s beside the point. I realize he has filled it out and is buying “Shamrocks” to honor or memorialize people who had cancer. There, in his scribbly handwriting, he has written out that he wants to purchase 2 shamrocks. The first one is for, “My sister Julia” and he has checked the Honor box. The 2nd one is for, “My mom’s old husband” and checked the In Memory box. He looks up at me, hands me the 2 quarters and say’s, “I am sorry people you love get cancer Mom.”
I am so moved for so many reasons, but mostly because I finally believe after all we have been through as a family and all he is experiencing with his own issues (that is for another day), I think he is able to think beyond himself and he GETS IT! I had once questioned if I could teach my kids empathy . I was hopeful that Greg was getting a feel for it at the time. Recently with his struggles I have second guessed him. I was wrong.
Okay, so maybe he shouldn’t be strong-arming his sister to get donations out of her, but he realized people are hurting and possibly his money could make the difference. I am am so proud of him and wanted to share this with you. Lessons are being learned everyday in everyway, when I am not even aware.
By the way, “Mom’s old husband” really wasn’t that old! Thirty at the time of his death. Cancer truly sucks.
Love and Peace,