Okay, so I'll admit that I thought of writing this post while watching Covert Affairs with the kitten on my lap. The notion that the truth is complicated applies to plenty of us who aren't in the C.I.A. The "truth" I'm talking about is this:
There's another reason why it's so hard for me when someone asks, "how's Max?". The truth is, I don't actually know how he is. That's not an easy thing for the mom of an 8 year old, and sounds very existential, or like I mean it has something to do with autism. But I mean that I literally don't know how he is. Dave and I talk to him about every 2-3 weeks, and we write to him a few times a week.
He writes us a letter every week, but that doesn't help me understand how he is. The first letter he wrote, on a scrap of paper that had obviously been balled up a few times, said "Dear Mom, I hate this place. I have no friends. I'm having even more fits than at home. I love you. Max B.".
So what do I do with that? The second letter was about 2 sentences, as well, on an equally abused piece of paper. I don't know how he is. I'm like the anti-helicopter mom. I don't know what he's eating or wearing, and I don't know how his school day is going. I don't know what he's doing this afternoon....soccer, board games, hiking? No idea. For all those moms who are out there over-achieving at this mom gig, I am pulling the average back to the middle by having no clue what my kid is up to at any given moment.
Now and then I talk to friends with kids who are thinking about where they might go to high school, and I always mention the wonderful Quaker boarding school I attended. I think that boarding school is an amazing option, and allows growth of adolescents in a way that rarely happens at home. I didn't choose to have an eight year old who needed this option, but I was always open to it for him later. I just don't have words for what it feels like when someone says, in regards to their almost high-schooler, "but I could never just send my child away".
It must be nice to have choices.