Compassion?

Well now. I just don’t understand people sometimes. If anyone can, please explain why someone might say these things in this sort of order, to someone in my position?

One of our casual receptionists was in yesterday covering for the full time woman. She’s a nice lady, good at her job, friendly and well liked by staff here. We’ll call her Aimee.

Aimee has a son a few years older than Colt so we tend to default to mom-talk when searching for common ground in social interactions. She asked how he was doing and I answered, telling her about the struggles he is currently facing and the latest incidents with the older kid, Nathan, whom Colt is kind of idolizing and sort of took on a few weeks back. Colt wanted to hang out with the grade 8’s (he’s in grade 5) and doesn’t really catch the same social cues most kids/people do because of the autism. He doesn’t understand the hidden meanings behind words and gestures so when someone is trying to be kind about getting rid of him, he misses the point entirely. Nathan had gotten a bit forceful with Colt – he’s not got much patience for a younger kid with autism, like most 12 year old boys in the world so I wasn’t blaming Nathan at all for this interaction, and Colt kicked some stones at him, while trying to jockey for his place in the social ranking of the group.

So I told Aimee that story and she kind of smirked at me and told me this story in response:

Her son, who is smart, socially well adapted and well liked, funny, kind, compassionate and warm-hearted, had a kid in his class through school who was on the autism spectrum. As he got older and hormones started firing up, his behaviours got inappropriate and irritating for the rest of the kids in the class. Eventually, this boy started going around kicking kids in the privates, just to get a reaction out of them and to exert some sort of control, I’m guessing. Aimee told me that the kids and parents were all sick to death of this kid harassing their normal, well behaved children (she actually used those words) and so, one day, her kid just hauled off and socked the disabled boy in the face, smashing his nose and causing it to bleed profusely.

A call came in from the principal, to Aimee, reporting the situation. She was told that her son understood it wasn’t right to hit the kid, however, everyone was kind of looking to her son as a ‘hero’ because he finally taught this disabled boy a lesson. He never kicked another kid in the balls again, apparently, and Aimee (and the leadership of the school, plus all the kids and parents) were so proud of her kid for not taking his shit anymore.

I stood there, staring at Aimee, wondering if she had any idea how awful that perspective sounded to me, especially after the story I’d just relayed to her. My concern for Colt was clear, as was my compassion. I suppose she might have been in a bad mood or something but wow….I mean, she’s just lost a couple of friends to a tragic circumstance and although it didn’t affect ME in the least, I spent time making sure she felt supported and understood. I listened while she cried and talked in my office about losing them and I offered a shoulder and condolences to her….I hated to see her suffer, even though I don’t know her very well. I don’t like to see anyone suffer….one of the strongest ties I had to M was because he never stops suffering and I always wanted to soothe his pain somehow. I instinctively wanted to help her feel better and she instinctively felt that my disabled son was somehow to blame for the situation he is in.

Hmm..well, he IS responsible, in a way but how insensitive is that?? It reminds me of the time Terri, one of my old coworkers walked into my office and I brought a mudslide that had killed and injured so many people and she looked me dead in the eye and said:

“You know, I just don’t care about those people. It happened, it was supposed to happen and that’s all there is to it. I can’t spend my time worrying about people I don’t even know…I mean, why do they live there if it’s so dangerous anyway?” she asked of a population in a 3rd world country who were blindsided by a natural disaster.

What the hell is wrong with people? Why doesn’t anyone care or bother to watch their words when something so important is being shared? No freaking wonder I grew up distanced from my feelings. They make me seem to be a freak at times.

Anyway. Stuff at work has settled down. They’ve finally bothered to look into the things they accused me of and realized I was right in the first place. Everything is fine..they all just overreacted. This place is just going to do me in… :S I love most of the people. I love the job. I can’t quite modulate my tolerance for stress and overreactions though. Will take time, I suppose.

As for the wonderful Colt….he’s still grounded from the last suspension. We had to take the morning off work to go meet with them and we got him reinstated. He tried really hard to behave on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and we got notes home with accolades and NO phone calls. He woke this morning and announced:

“Mom, I’ve decided I’m going to have a bad day at school today.” all attitude-y and snarky.

Well fuck. Why would he do that? We have a whole day off set up tomorrow where he gets all his stuff back and his entire grounding is lifted. Maybe it’s just too much pressure. I don’t know. I tried to bolster his strength and cuddled him (as he was pushing me away). I didn’t yell, didn’t get mad…just tried to hug him and tell him all the fun things we’ll do tomorrow. Told him to tell everyone to please leave him alone today because he was feeling crappy and told him that a pause before doing something against the rules would be helpful. I told him to think about tomorrow and how great it will be to have his Ipad back, be able to play video games and have all his toys… I have my hopes up and my fingers crossed that it worked somehow. I really want him to have a fun day tomorrow…he really has worked hard and sabotaging it right at the end would ruin everything.

Please Colt? Please just try to follow the rules today? I feel sick with worry. And I feel rather alone in all this, especially after that enlightening chat with my coworker.

*Searching for silver lining….my pain is low today, so far. I mean, it’s only 9 am but I might as well enjoy it while I can.

*sigh* Life.

On a happier note – Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! I hope your day is stress-free and you find yourself surrounded by kindness. If I could, I’d give you all a hug.

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About Grainne

My name is Grainne. This blog has been with me for years now and has served as a journal, a confessional, an outlet and a place for me to create and express my love of life. Thank you for stopping by and for becoming a part of this life long journey of mine. I appreciate every single one of you who takes the time to do so. :)

4 responses to “Compassion?”

  1. KittyHere says :

    Sorry about your coworker’s insensitivity. But glad Colt has had a good stretch. Hope he makes in through the day. You are doing a great job with him.

  2. Ellen says :

    Hard to believe this co-worker is well liked and a ‘nice lady’. Her story is completely insensitive and inappropriate in this context. Lord save me from ‘nice’.

    Hope Colt copes today.

  3. Ain't No Shrinking Violet says :

    We have many things in common…many of the same stressors. I hope things start going better for you and your family soon, and if that’s not possible, that you can continue to find the strength to hang on.

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