Friday, October 28, 2011
The last few days have been very bad. I'm making my page private for a bit, until I decide if I post this, or leave it up if I do. I need to get it out of my head to put everything in order.
My son has a developmental disability. It can be helped by medication (although the meds are not mandatory), which he took for a number of years. But a few years ago he rebelled and refused to continue taking them; he would palm them or pretend to swallow, or more drastically regurgitate them afterwards. So we stopped trying to force the issue.
There was a noticable change in his personality, grades, and social relations. But not so severe as to be a crisis. He "did well enough to get by".
One of his symptoms is a seeming inability to understand social norms; what is and is not appropriate and why. Another symptom is obsessiveness. In his case it takes the form of a fascination with a subject, which he researches to exhaustion and beyond, writing everything down, until he knows as much as any expert. Some topics over the years have been tornadoes, natural disasters, the Titanic, wars/battles, military equipment, war planes, etc.
The common theme is death & destruction.
He turned 16 on Tuesday. He was, and has been, behaving normally.
Wednesday just before lunch the school called, requesting me to come immediately. They would not discuss why over the phone.
The school received an anonymous tip to check one of his class notebooks. In it was more of his research.
Only this time his obsession seems to be school shootings, bombings, and bomb-making.
He didn't make any specific threats against the school or any person. He even wrote at the beginning of the notebook that he wanted to provoke people's thoughts and conversations.
The school has to react to protect the other 2000 kids there. They went into lock-down and called the police.
I understand that, I really do. If it were someone else's kid I would expect them to do this. And they behaved professionally, with concern & courtesy and according to procedure. But still...it feels different when it is your kid.
They took him to the sheriif's office for questioning. They searched my home with sniffer dogs and forensics technicians. They confiscated the computers and his notebooks. He has been suspended and now faces expulsion from school. In addition to possible criminal charges.
They found nothing but what he said was there (his research). No arsenal, no incendiaries or bomb-making equipment, no "hit lists", nothing to suggest he was going to act on his writings, noting to suggest it is anything more than he claimed - researching an interest.
But still...his writings are disturbing. Some of them are his private journals, which a previous counselor had suggested to him as a way of making sense of his emotions & getting them out instead of keeping everything bottled up. And they are pretty damning taken at face value, although he does also write in them that he has no intention of doing anything, he was just expressing the feelings he has.
They could not charge him Wednesday as they had no evidence he committed a crime; they did leave the door open for future charges depending on what else they found. We agreed to follow their recommendation that he be admitted for evaluation though, because he is obviously no longer "doing well enough to get by".
In hindsight...I should have seen this coming. I know he gets obsessive and the type of topics he is obsessive about. I know he does not understand that some topics are just inappropriate. I know he does not understand why they are inappropriate, and why most people would feel that way. I know he likes to push boundaries. I know his social skills are weak. I should have known that something like this was going to happen. I should have disrespected his privacy and read the journals, paid more attention to the browser history and put 2+2 together.
Hindsight is perfect. I am not. I am not a particularly good parent; I am being objective here, I am not very maternal, I acknowledge my shortcomings and it is what it is. I am better than many, but also worse than many. And I have failed him. Even though I know it is not my fault I could have done more for him. But I chose to honor his request let him work out how to live with his disability in his own way. Now we are reaping the consequences of that decision.
And the other part of me wants to wring his neck for being so flipping stupid as to take that notebook to school and show it to people.
He has been admitted for evaluation since late Wednesday. His father & I are meeting with the Dr. there this afternoon to discuss his treatment recommendations and fine tune his diagnosis. We will have to meet with the school Principal next week to discuss what happens next, and likely appeal his expulsion to the school board. There is still a possibiliy of criminal charges.
We will get through this, although I have no idea where we will end up. I'm hoping he is able to understand the true severity of what he has "done" and that he does need help to manage his disability. But he is also 16, and very nearly legally of age in a short period of time. We can only influence him so much before he has to become fully responsible for himself, and his disability is not so severe as to prevent that from happening. My worst fear is getting that phone call, that my son has become a headline and destroyed not only his own life but others' lives as well. And there's not much I can do about it.
I feel sick.
I feel angry. And selfish. This affects me, and his sister who goes to the same school, and his father. Ex-H could lose his job if charges are filed.
I feel heartsick. This is my son, my first born, MY son. Who I raised to be an independent thinker and to explore his interests and develop into who he wants to be rather than who society thinks he should be.
I feel cold and unsympathetic. We've gone through this type of crisis so many times; it is hard to remember it is not wholly under his control.
I feel protective. He did not DO anything wrong, except exhibit a compete lack of understanding of what is appropriate for school and the probable consequences of showing around his notebook.
I feel the need to smash something, to lash out and find something or someone to blame.
I feel empty & drained.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
So, if you stopped by my blog concerned that I am in need of help and support...you are correct, although not in the way you think. Rest assured, I am not mad or sad or depressed or suicidal; I have not lost my Spark. I am actually pretty happy with my life.
I do have a slightly twisted sense of humour, but I suspect there is no help for that.
Regarding my blog title...
Today is my birthday. And not just any birthday either. Today is a milestone birthday. Today I am 40.
My daughter this morning gave me a big hug and wished me Happy Birthday. Then said "How does it feel to be old?" My son has told me repeatedly that one's life is over by 40 (from the bottless depths of his 15 year old wisdom). My younger sister decorated my car with "Over the Hill" banners. My coworkers over-decorated my desk in the same theme.
It's mostly all done in fun.
Because the ubiquitous "THEY" in our society tells me that I should dread this birthday; that I am "Over the Hill"; that I should basically just curl up in denial; that the best years of my life are over; that "life" is for the younger so I should get out of their way.
They have to catch me first!
Then they will probably wish they hadn't as I am not the self-christened Warrior Babe for nothing! Us old people are sneaky and fight dirty.
I have no problem with my age, never had and never will. I wish society would get with the program.
After all, people don't go on roller coasters for the uphill climb. All the fun and exceitement happens when you reach the top of that hill and start down.
The best years of life are still ahead.
To celebrate tonight I am going to karate; we are having a board breaking seminar. So on my birthday I get to smash things AND, per tradition, get to make the rest of the class do push-ups while I count them out, one for each year (I will accept bribes to either misremember my age or county really fast LOL). How could it get any better you ask?
My ex-husband is coming to the class to be a board holder since our daughter will also be there. Ex-hubby, holding my board, smashing through it and stopping my fist mere centimeters from his nose and seeing him flinch...priceless!
Yes, I know this is not your typical birthday celebration. I never claimed to be a steroetype; a lemming I am not.
And you, my beloved younger sister...know that my memory is not yet gone, I know how old you are...and payback is coming your way in a few years. Thrice fold.
Monday, October 10, 2011
As seen on a t-shirt yesterday...
Running is like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you get tired. You quit when the gorilla gets tired.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
One little cold / flu and she collapses in a pathetic pile of goo. "Oh, we're sick, let's eat obscene amounts of baked goods and stay in bed all day, we're too sick to exercise. That's the only way to get better."
This is the crazy alter ego who wanted to run a marathon after completing a single 5k, who wanted to enter a triathlon even though we can barely swim a lap and who jumps around like a cheerleader on speed, chanting faster....faster....faster when we run.
This last week she's been chanting muffins...donuts...bagels...please please please!
FANGFACEKITTY has had to be the grownup and say not a chance baby!
I forced our backside to go to the track Wednesday. 200 meter as fast as you can go runs (that is half of one lap) with a slow jog for 200 meters...and repeat 12 times (3 miles total)...and our uber sadistic coach made us do the 200 meter run in under 1 minute each time (8 minute mile pace or faster).
If you can't beat a cold...outrun it!
Tonight Becky was still whining..."we've been sick, we need to ease back in to exercise, let's just do a few minutes on the bike so we don't over tax ourselves."
Yeah, right. Don't think so sweetheart. Two miles in 17:04 on the treadmill, a 5k in 28:54, and jog for another 36 minutes. Two new PRs. Now we know who is in charge here, and it's not the fair weather muffin addict psycho cheerleader on speed (yeah, I'm talking to you Becky!).
FFK is back baby! RAWR!
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