I’m trying to learn a little bit of self-discipline in the form of not blogging when I’m overly emotional. Which probably means I will never blog again. HA! I kid. See, that’s me being all casual and detached. Ahem.
So yesterday, I popped up my blog dashboard four or five times, and in the end, closed it again, because I just wasn’t able to think of anything to say other than WE ARE ALL DOOOOOOMED and OMG YOU GUYS AAAAIIIEEEEE and that just seemed… not in accordance with my new rule of not blogging while inebriated with negative emotions.
Instead, today you get the Wah Wah Hangover. Lucky you!
Simply put, on Wednesday afternoon the phone rang. It was Monkey’s parapro, and she was very sorry, but she was calling to let us know that Friday—two days later, today—would be her last day. This is where I dryly inform you that the very best thing in the whole damn world is when you have to inform your Aspie that someone he loves is unexpectedly leaving him.
Now, let’s be clear: I’m not mad at his parapro. Well; okay. I am mad at her, but in that diffuse, I’m-aware-this-is-irrational kind of way. There are good reasons for her departure, and I know that if she could’ve made things work out differently, she would’ve. It is crystal clear to all of us that she adores Monkey and I will be the first to tell you that she has gone above and beyond for him multiple times. This was just an unfortunate intersection of sucky circumstances, and I know she feels terrible about it. I am mad she waited so long to tell us, but truly, she was doing everything she could to make it work out so that she didn’t have to leave early, and… it just didn’t work out.
She is moving out of state, and she’s leaving after school today.
Months ago, as we had meetings and committees to discuss Middle School Oh My God Middle School, there was not a single pow-wow wherein someone didn’t say it was such a shame his parapro was moving… or where SHE didn’t mention that despite never having left the elementary school, before, if she was staying, she would happily move up with Monkey. She’s been a gift to our family, pure and simple. I don’t want to dilute that just because of this.
But this. Oh, this. Wednesday night was a disaster. We waited until after dinner to talk to Monkey, thinking we’d rather not ruin the meal. What happened instead was that he was angry and intractable and stormed off to bed in a huff of hating everything and everyone. And when I went in to check on him, later, as soon as I laid a hand on his arm, he dissolved into forlorn weeping. Because it’s not fair, and doesn’t she love him? Couldn’t she stay if she really wanted to? An already fraught time—the end of one school, the end of having his one best bud in class with him—and then this, on top of it all. It’s so unfair. I understand it and it kills me; I can’t even imagine what it’s doing to him.
We had plans for end-of-year teacher gifts, but nothing I could pull together in time for today. That turns out to be for the best; she’ll be back in town this summer, and this way Monkey has a tangible toehold: I told him we’ll save it until then, and he nodded and affirmed that we’ll HAVE to see her, now.
He sat at the kitchen table this morning and dawdled over his smoothie, sucking it partway up the straw, letting it slide back down again. His fingers twirled his shirt, his pants, his hair. I stopped to hug him every time I walked past while packing lunches, feeding the dog, etc. And we talked before he left.
“What do you need to remember about today?” I asked.
“Wear sunscreen?” he volunteered, hopeful that it was the right answer. Today is Field Day, so actually, he wasn’t wrong.
“Well yes, that too,” I said. “But what is today probably going to FEEL like? What will happen today?”
“I might have big feelings,” he said, somber. “Because Field Day is pretty loud.”
I nodded. “And…?” I prompted. “What else might make you have big feelings today?”
“It’s Ms. Parapro’s last day,” he said, studying his socks.
“Yeah, buddy. It is. And that’s hard.” He leaned into me, and I stroked his hair, kissed his head, longed for the days when I could fix up his boo-boos and be the hero. “But here’s the thing, sweetie. Because you KNOW today might be kind of challenging, you can be READY to deal with it productively, you know? What do we do when we have big feelings?”
“No big actions,” he answered. Huh. I’ve never given him that phrase. I don’t know if it was fed to him by someone else or if he came up with it on his own. But how very apt.
“Good! Yes, let’s… keep away from big actions. Especially big physical actions. What can you do instead?”
He shrugged. “Little actions?” The corners of his mouth twitched upward. Deflecting with humor. I wonder where he learned that? Ahem.
“How about talking?” I said. “Use your words. It’s okay to talk about the big feelings. Sometimes talking makes them less big.” He nodded and snuggled into me again, listening but not wanting to, and maybe remembering the boo-boo days, himself. It’s hard to know.
I sent him off to school this morning with Otto, so that we could grab a picture of them together before she goes. That will help him. I think. So much of the time I’m just guessing. Because today might be a disaster, or today might be fine and he might fall apart tomorrow, or Monday. There’s just no predicting, sometimes.
Godspeed, Ms. Parapro. We were lucky to have you as long as we did; thank you for always seeing right through the other stuff to Monkey’s heart. You’ll always be Good People to us.
Big feelings. Yeah.