The Boy, The Man & Me

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Riddle #1:

A boy walks into a room and sees a doctor, a lawyer, a rabbi, a teacher, a musician, a photographer, an insurance broker and a psychologist. Where is he?

Riddle #2:

A man walks into a room and sees a doctor, a lawyer, a rabbi, a teacher, a musician, a photographer, an insurance broker and a psychologist. What does he think?

Riddle #3:

A lady walks into a room and sees a doctor, a lawyer, a rabbi, a teacher, a musician, a photographer, an insurance broker and a psychologist. Where does she look?

The boy is at his Bar Mitzvah, naturally.

The man thinks, if I first see the doctor and the lawyer I can collect “gifts”, then if I meet the Rabbi and the teacher I can feel better about using that cash to pay for the music and pictures, shake my brother-in-law’s hand and then seek advice from my other brother-in-law so I don’t feel guilty about using his money to help pay for his party.

The lady has eyes only for the boy but gets distracted by the man and his shenanigans!

So the party is over. I am thrilled. They say it takes a village and that is sooo true! I think the last time I was so tired “the day after”, was when I birthed this child. I didn’t even hold him until a day later if I remember correctly.

I asked my friends and family to help me and they did. With food prep and support and set up and clean up. I feel blessed, truly and wholly. My son gave me a random hug last night to say thanks for all the hard work. THAT was validating.

I struggled with what I would write about after the fact and I think it stems from excess. There is too much to say. Too much that I want to keep personal. So I was stuck. How do I convey what this experience was to me in one post, or even in a series of posts? I can’t. So I won’t. I will say these few things:

I cried, I laughed. I smiled a lot. I am so proud of my son it brings tears to my eyes. Here is a child that suffers from Sensory Integration Disorder. Some of the signs are:

  • sensitivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds
  • under reactivity to touch, movement, sights, or sounds
  • tendency to be easily distracted
  • social and/or emotional problems
  • activity level that is unusually high or unusually low
  • physical clumsiness or apparent carelessness
  • impulsive, lacking in self-control
  • difficulty in making transitions from one situation to another
  • inability to unwind or calm self
  • poor self concept
  • delays in speech, language, or motor skills
  • delays in academic achievement

Now, while my son has always been bright and achieved academic excellence, never having delayed speech or problems with language, he does suffer from many of the other symptoms. I thought this affair was going to be over-the-top for him and that we’d need to constantly be ready to jump in if things got crazy. But they never did. He sat and listened patiently thorough all the speeches and got up to hug each brother-in-law and grandfather appropriately. He read from the Torah in a voice just shy of being loud enough, but certainly clear and resonant. He spoke with confidence and made mention of those that traveled to share this wonderful occasion with him. He basically blew me away, this man-boy, and I am filled with emotion that he has made it this far and can still impress me.

He has reached goals I never thought he’d make because of his disability. He was labeled and that made me sad until today. I hadn’t had enough time before to process the event through his eyes, I was so busy preparing meal plans, hiring entertainment, organizing housing, shopping and cooking, that it took a back seat. We have not discussed if he had a hard time managing the noise level or the constant hugging or any of the millions of things that ‘normal’ people can shrug off as regular activity but that he has to suffer with and ‘figure’ out on his own without making a scene.

I am just overjoyed at this accomplishment for him. It’s not every day that I can say that. At the party, I was reminded of stories about him when we first moved to the Judean Hills.

He would get ‘lost’ almost every day after school. I would post on the local group email list, “Has anyone seen…” or “Lost…Again….” trying to be funny but really panicking that this little child with sensory issues was hiding from a dogs’ bark or turned a wrong corner to get away from some kids screaming or chasing each other and lost his way.

But he never did. He was never ‘lost’. He always knew where he was going even if he didn’t tell us. Still today my man-boy who is just as tall as me with a really deep voice is on a journey that only he knows if it will be good for him. While I am still the parent and have a say and can veto any plan, it is today, after watching him with new eyes, that I take a step back and let him lead his own way, of course, always with guidance and advice if he should ask. He is responsible now for his own actions according to Jewish law and it has left me with a bittersweet feeling. It’s a good thing. Happy tears. Letting go is never easy, so I won’t. I will stand very close by just in case I am needed, which will happen, I just have to wait for it.



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