In the arena

Sorry, I’ve felt really dragged down this week. Sometimes I just don’t feel like I’ve got the energy to get up in the morning, let alone write. I can put up a hell of a good facade though. Mr. Happy-go-lucky, right? Really all I want to do is go to sleep.

Shade is improving physically thanks to lots of pool time and YMCA workouts. And his memory is getting better. But he’s in a social decline. He’s not happy at school though he’s doing okay in his classes. He’s now highly aware that he has become an outcast of sorts. He constantly tells us how his friends ignore him in class. He sits in the same place at lunch, but suddenly his buddies have scooted down the bench out of conversational range or sit at other tables. What can we do? It’s the Hunger Games. Survival of the fittest. We’re just observers outside the arena.

And I’ve said it before. I can’t even blame the kids. I was like that myself. We all were. Hoping that we’d be accepted as we sprouted hair all over the place, our voices distorting and long, lanky limbs gangling everywhere. Who had time to worry about the other guy when we were worried about ourselves?

I had a talk with Shade today and told him that things might be rough for a little while because in middle school, people are focused on their own social survival and not on others. It’s just the way it is at that age. But he’s got plenty of people who love him. He’s a fun, smart, joyful kid and people will see past the stroke to the real Shade. He will eventually find kids his own age who recognize that. We just have to be patient for a while.

Until then, Shade has a few fifth grade friends that still call him and who don’t seem to be freaked out by a wheelchair or a slow speech pattern or an eye that won’t close. They’re not the same age, but then Shade isn’t really the same age emotionally as he is physically. It’s just a shame they can’t be in the same classes as him. But then, if they were, they’d be in middle school, and then they’d be in the arena, too.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jean Curtice
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 10:29:11

    I wish I could send a little gift to float down to Shade. When he opened it, a beautiful ray of bright (but not blinding) light would emerge and would encircle him and let him know how much he is loved, how much he matters, and how important this time of darkness/and learning is to him and many others. 2012 has some scary and dark things happening in it…. but I see tiny points of light, growing brighter and brighter. Shade is one of those lights, and he’s coming on strong!! Love you.


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