people always told me " you'll know when the time is right"
or maybe you won't. maybe you won't know the right time, OR the right words, but suddenly there you are. and you don't feel you have any other choice.
tonight i took my boys to see the fireworks from my sister's front lawn.
shortly after getting there malachi started demanding Ivan play pretend with him. they always pretend to play whatever they are currently into, right now it means " angry birds" that silly game everyone has on their computers and IPODS
Generally Ivan loves to coach Malachi along in his pretend -escapades. But tonight...tonight he had REAL playmates. His cousins and two other fun little boys his age. Ivan really wanted to play REAL games..not just cater to Malachi.
Suddenly Malachi is screaming and bossing Ivan, commanding him to play with him. And Ivan? Ivan starts weeping. WEEPING. And when pressed- what does he say " I don't know what to do!!!!"
and you know why? because he didn't WANT to play with Malachi. He wanted to play with his peers. But he felt GUILT. guilt for not playing the way his brother was demanding him to play. Guilt for not WANTING to be with Malachi and cater to him.
he SOBBED . my boy just sobbed and sobbed. He wouldn't play with malachi, but now he could not even play with his peers because he was so beside himself with grief over his situation.
and I realized-
there's never a good time dammit.
So I walked my sobbing 7 year old boy to the van. and I said " Ivan. I need to talk to you. Malachi is not like the other kids. Remember how we talked about everyone being different? and some people's brains do things and think things differently than others? " Ivan interrupted and said " yes! I KNOW.." and tried to walk away, so I said " No. Ivan, I need you to understand. Malachi has an autistic brain. Ivan. Malachi has autism. And he's not trying to make you feel bad. He just doesn't know how to play with the other kids. He doesn't understand. "
Ivan just stood there. defensive angry scowl set on his face and said " I don't want to talk anymore- can I go now!"
and I said " Ivan. I need you to hear me. This is not your fault. You do not have to play the game with malachi right now. You can play with your friends and you don't have to take care of Malachi. *I* will take care of Malachi. Ok? you don't have to worry about him"
his lip started to tremble. and he swallowed hard and nodded his head. relief. mom will do it.
mom will take care of him. I can play.
and he ran off to join his friends.
I went back and sat next to malachi. Looked up at the fireworks and said " this one is for you" and we watched it explode in the sky.