This is my son Asa on his 28th birthday last month, getting ready to open one of his gifts. He requested we have cheesecake for his birthday dessert which was a very delicious choice! Asa has given me more gray hairs than I can count. He has a great sense of humor and can be very loving and kind – and he has been a real challenge to raise.
First day of kindergarten went great! I was so relieved. Got a call the second day of kindergarten to please come and pick up my child because he was out of control. He had a very difficult time with impulse control and created havoc in the classroom. Once he was medicated for ADHD, he did better – although I still got calls throughout his school career – “Asa got in a fight today” – “Asa got on the school roof” – “Asa tried to jump over a table” – “Asa lit a garbage can on fire”. Sounds horrible, I know.
In his defense, most of the things he did was because his “friends” told him to. Having friends was the most important thing in the world to Asa. He would do anything for his friends. What saved his ass was that the teachers genuinely liked Asa and understood he had some challenges. So he would get suspensions, instead of expulsions.
I am sure there were some teachers that were happy when Asa was absent from school. But the ones that got passed the behavior and got to know him, enjoyed having him around. In middle school, Asa had to go to the office to take a pill every day at lunch time. One November, he told the office staff that his birthday was coming up. I guess he told them almost every day because he was excited. On his birthday, the office staff gave him a birthday card – and it was signed by them and many of his teachers. He was so happy to get the card – but I don’t think he recognized the significance of it. How many kids get a birthday card signed by dozens of school staff members?
Asa didn’t have many real friends in high school, but he thought he was popular. He told me that everybody knew who he was, so that made him popular. I knew that wasn’t true and that he probably got picked on because he was different, but it made him happy to think he was popular so I figured it didn’t hurt anything to let him think that.
I was so relieved when he graduated high school because it had been a long, twisty turny, dirty, uncomfortable road to get there. There were fun times in there too of course – the soccer games, the choir concerts, and the time he played “Rumplestiltskin” in a play in high school.
Since high school, he has worked a few jobs and gotten fired from them all. He has lived with various family members over the years – and lived with a roommate for awhile. He was homeless for a couple of weeks. He has had to live in some uncomfortable places. Sometimes he would come home for a visit and it would turn into his actually living with us again – and unfortunately I didn’t always have room for him, so would have to squeeze him in somewhere. This time around, I knew he was in a precarious situation, and I went and got him and brought him home with me. And now he has a very nice room with a comfortable bed.
Asa doesn’t have a job. We are doing the paperwork to get employment help from the state Vocational Rehabilitation program for disabled adults. There is usually quite a long waiting list to actually get the assistance, but he definitely won’t get it if he doesn’t get on the list. He wants to work, but needs help to get and maintain a job. I am hopeful that he will eventually get the help he needs, and is able to find a job he really enjoys – and that one day he is able to move out on his own. Until then though, he is welcome to stay with me. I am glad to know he is safe – even if he still irritates me sometimes.