So Yesterday Was Interesting…

20091115_imgp2864

I was at work, not exactly round the corner from home, when I got a phone call. This was round lunch time.

It was one of the phone calls I’ve had very many of in my life as my knucklehead’s mom, and they always leave me feeling powerless and angry.

 

The complex we live in is not huge; I think there are 27 units or so? There are a lot of families with kids ranging in age from toddler to a little younger than the knucklehead.

Damien hangs out occasionally with a few of the kids, mostly because some of them skate and he’ll join them sometimes. And a few times a couple of the boys have come over to play PS2 and such.

I never thought twice about it.

 

Then, I get a call. The display says “Front Gate”, which would imply that someone is trying to visit me, right? That’s how I always understood it… except that the one security guard at our complex has gotten overly familiar, despite my not actually encouraging him.

What do I mean?

Well, he’ll “call” my phone using the intercom call box at the gate, at 9PM at night, to ask if I have tippex (whiteout) to loan him!!! He is always asking Damien to put his colddrink or food in our fridge, or to please freeze his water bottle, or things like that.

I know it sounds like I’m being petty- but I truly do not believe in being friendly with people who are supposed to provide me with a service. When I use a particular garage or grocery shop, and they start asking personal questions like “Where’s your mother today?” or “How’s your son?” I get more than a little creeped out that they should know so much about me, and I will start going somewhere else.

I loathe the fact that I cannot smile and return a greeting without people inferring that we are then friends.

 

Anyhoodle, so I answer the call. The security guard starts telling me Damien has a girl in the house and that he’s denying it and the kids are shouting and and and… needless to say his English is not the best, and I was battling to understand him over the intercom, so I hung up and called the knucklehead.

He tells me there was a girl visiting, who lives in the complex. They played a little guitar and watched some TV and then she left. I spoke to the maid, who said she was doing the ironing and they were watching some TV and then the girl left.

Nothing funny. Nothing hinky. And she’s 17 BTW, the girl is not a child.

I call my Glugster to ask if he can call someone and do something about the security guard. I don’t have any contact details for the trustees or anything like that, and quite frankly, I want the dude reassigned.

Glugs sets off for home to take care of it for me.

Always my hero.

It turns out that parents in the complex have been using the security guard as a kind of babysitter! Phoning him on his cellphone and telling him to send the children home, or make sure they don’t leave the complex! This is not his job FCOL!! And you can rest assured I will be taking it further, but this was not the main issue yesterday.

 

Then I called Damien again to let him know Glugs is on his way and to sit tight. Of course- when we spoke the first time he was ready to set off and defend his own honour with anyone and everyone, so I had to make doubly sure he kept his head and stayed home!

The knucklehead then tells me that some of the parents in the complex are under the impression he’s some kind of junkie drug dealer, and they don’t want their kids associating with him… and even though I know he is prone to exaggeration, I suddenly realised that he’s far from childlike in other people’s eyes!

You know those moments when, as a parent, you look at your baby and realise he or she isn’t a baby anymore, but a young child? Or the moment when you look at him walking into the school gate and he’s suddenly so tall?

I had one of those moments.

I suddenly saw my almost 19 year old son through my neighbour’s eyes. He’s not a little kid anymore- and I’ve known this for a long time… but I’d never seen my son “from the outside” so to speak.

My knucklehead has now decided he is indeed a Goth so he’s now all out for all black… but even before that he wore almost exclusively black clothing. He wears several big silver skull-type rings, several spiked leather armbands, his hair is long, his nails are black, and he smokes. He loves his metal and death metal, and he plays it, loudly.

While he has no problem playing LEGO with the ADHDer children who visit when we have support group meetings, he also has friends his own age and they like to party together. He plays cars in the dirt with his cousins. He plays on the slip and slide with his cousins at his granny’s annual Christmas party… But our neighbours don’t know him, or see that. Quite frankly I can understand their being freaked out about their kids spending time with this “man”… but it made me more than a little sad.

 

I could have gone to my neighbours and tried to explain that he’s harmless; and that being an ADHDer he’s actually very immature and really is just having some fun… but there comes a time when you can’t organise “play dates” and smooth over relationships with other kids for your ADHDer child anymore.

So I had to tell him yesterday that maybe having the kids over for some PS2 is not a good idea anymore… I had to explain to him that even though I know he’s harmless, hanging out with the neighbourhood kids may not be advisable anymore.

He’s sad about it because he battles to understand that others can’t see he has no ulterior motive, but he’ll be okay. He’ll be spending even more time at the shelter now rather than being home alone, and now we’re really working on finding him a job…

 

But yesterday’s incident made me sad.

About Angel

Wife, mom, cake artist, Guide Dog puppy raiser, ADHD champion, wedding planner, and tattooed cat slave.

Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to So Yesterday Was Interesting…

  1. Charms says:

    Angel, I only read your post today and now I feel so sad for you and your boy. I have no advice here but I’m sure Damien knows that he is loved by you and Glugster. My sister’s son is also 19 now and he dresses in all black, has long hair, listens to heavy metal etc. They moved to a small North Western town a few years ago and this child was ignored and misunderstood by the people in the “klein plattelandse dorpie” that he moved to his uncle in Jhb just to feel “normal” again. It’s sad how people judge what they don’t know.
    .-= Charms´s last blog ..Lag ‘n Bietjie =-.

  2. Bobbi Janay says:

    Hugs it bothers me so much that people only judge from what they see.

  3. Mel says:

    That’s horrible, would feel sad too. Our world is so warped that no where is safe for our kids anymore, everyone is a potential pedo or druggie etc and I guess as parents of our generation we go the opposite extreme with being protective. Having our kids disappointed is always the hardest for me. Sorry Damien!

  4. Julia says:

    This post made me so sad.
    It gave me a kind of window as to what to expect in the future with my ADHD boy. He is similar to your Damien in that he can socialize with any age group. He is also very much an individual in terms of what he wears etc. and does not follow the trends. I am so sorry that people can be such judgmental bitches.
    I have moments every so now and then where I see that my baby is no longer a baby.
    Sending you hugs and lots of love..xxx

  5. Gill says:

    I know exactly how it feels to look at your “baby” and suddenly see the “almost adult” that outsiders see….it’s a very weird, quite scary feeling! So sad that people are jumping to the wrong conclusions about Damien. It must be really tough for you and for him too 🙁

  6. Dawn says:

    This kind of judgemental crap really pisses me off. My hubby’s entire 2000AD comic collection was confiscated and burned as he was “clearly a satanist”… and i did the full on goth thing for.. gosh.. about 3 years. I still love rock and metal. Do you see me biting heads off small animals? No! I watch frickin Charlie and Lola with my kid. And i’ll be teaching her that you should never judge a book by it’s cover.

    My best friends are the ones that are not Joe Normal. *Those* are the types that are snooty, and are never there for you.

  7. Melany says:

    This is real sad. I totally understand how you feel he is still your little child and you KNOW him…others don’t. People are so quick to judge hey.

    I do understand how other parents with younger kids would be worried (I’d never let my kids visit with a 19 year old) It’s sad for him though, since he is still actually just a child.

    I love what Momcat said…people judge him and yet they have a security guard babysit their children.
    .-= Melany´s last blog ..New day =-.

  8. Laura says:

    Ah man 🙁 That made me sad also!

    Mad that people are using the guard like that – it is hard finding child care but we do what we must!!!!

    Being a parent is not for sissies
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Just breathe =-.

  9. Momcat says:

    Dael is 20 but he and his friends of that age play playstation quite happily with Bradley who is 14. I am glad that my boys and I don’t live in a complex though and that is the norm in Gauteng. Its very difficult to live in such close proximity to so many different and sometimes difficult people. These so-called ‘normal’ people who are leaving their children in the care of the security guard will pass judgement on Damien because of his appearance and whatever rumours they have heard about him. I agree that the best thing will be for him to find something to keep him occupied and away from the busybodies during the day and especially when you are not home. I hope that you find the right occupation for him soon. Chin up – you’ve got lots of supporters.

  10. Sharon says:

    That is horrid for you as a mom. I’ve only met him once & he was all excited about the cat that followed him all day – hardly a threat to anyone now is he! This is so not nice. I hope you manage to find him something that he’ll enjoy doing soon.
    .-= Sharon´s last blog ..Meet the Beautiful Victoria =-.

  11. Louisa says:

    Poor knucklehead… that really is sad Angel. And even though he’s a young man now he’ll always be your baby!
    .-= Louisa´s last blog ..78 – 86 of 365 =-.

  12. cybersass says:

    oh angel, i know from your blog that despite the love, you’ve endured so much hardship with damian and i really hope it gets easier for you both. huge hugs. xxx
    .-= cybersass´s last blog ..grrrr…. =-.

  13. Romy says:

    This is so sad… Will try my best to see what we can do. He will fit in right here I can assure you that 🙂 There is always someone ‘weirder’ than you here where I work 🙂

  14. Shebee says:

    I know little Demon aka Damien, and he is an awesome kid. Has been for as long as I’ve known him. You’re right though, I still see him as your child, while others see him as a potentially influential adult.

    At the thought of it, I go “what? Damien, an adult with ulterior motives? Never!” but the other parents are just looking out for their kids, just like you are yours.

    I’d print out this blog post and hand it over to every one of those parents, just in the complex. You may not be able to defend Demon everywhere he goes, but you can certainly try in the immediate vicinity of his home, he shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable there.

    Fuck. It is sad, he doesn’t deserve this.

    Having said that, and played devils advocate, getting him a job now would be the best thing I think. My brother (who you KNOW is so much like Demon) matured remarkably once he’d found a decent job.

    Love you, and your mad child, and Glugs.

    xoxoxo

  15. Alet says:

    (( hugs ))
    I can just imagine that you are feeling sad! Thinking of your Damian as well!
    .-= Alet´s last blog ..Patience is not a strength =-.

  16. Tamara says:

    My favourite varsity tutor was a hectic Goth (shaved her eyebrows off, painted her face white and painted in thick, new eyebrows up her forehead every day) and she gave all her students a good lesson in not judging a book by its covers – she was the gentlest soul with a soft spot for baby animals. I wish everyone could have a Nicki in their lives to learn that lesson.
    .-= Tamara´s last blog ..(Semi) sanity returns =-.

  17. ExMi says:

    argh. totally dreading that whole ‘my kid is now a grownup almost’ realisation. totally.

    *hugs*
    .-= ExMi´s last blog ..I Shit You Not =-.

  18. Gilz says:

    Awwww…I hope he finds his place very soon.
    .-= Gilz´s last blog ..Whacky Wednesday =-.

  19. Madelein says:

    Ag poor guy!! Very heartsore moment
    .-= Madelein´s last blog ..Happy Birthday!! =-.

  20. Leanne says:

    Angel my darling I can imagine your sad but I suposse we cannot cultivate open minded thinking among all people. to most the goth or alternative scene is synonimous with bad habbits and the wrong crowd and it sucks.
    Point is you know the truth and thats all that counts

  21. blackhuff says:

    Reading your post made me sad. People misunderstanding one’s child especially your son who is an ADHDer. I am really sorry to hear about this and I hope you guys can work through it. “hugs”

  22. Oh hunny! *hugs* It must be so heartbreaking knowing that your son is being seen in a negative light when you know he wouldn’t even think of doing something like *that*. Sending you strength!
    .-= JessicaGiggles´s last blog ..Tonight the parents meet =-.

  23. Jeanette says:

    Oh man, that’s just so terrible, that he can’t have friends over now, quite innocently.
    what idiotic parents to use the poor security guard as their personal spy! That poor dude must be under so much pressure!
    .-= Jeanette´s last blog ..88/365 – Natural lines =-.

  24. Oh Angel, that must be so tough. Tough to see him as a young man and not a child, tough to see him through other people’s eyes. Tough to be called. Tough to think they assume he is “bad” from the way he looks. Presumptions, that’s all.

    Love and good luck.

  25. Mel says:

    Argh. I have a brother who has piercings and tats. He is the gentlest, kindest most sensitive soul but I still see peoples initial reaction when they meet him…. ja, we are often very hung up on externals but I guess unless you have the opportunity to spend time with someone *external* is all we have to go on?
    .-= Mel´s last blog ..Photographic Workshop =-.

  26. hardspear says:

    The other day I was feeling down and then I saw a programme on Oprah of a 9 year old girl who has severe schizophrenia. I nearly went on my knees there and then to say thank you. My problems suddenly seemed very small in comparison with what that girls parents have to cope with. Please don’t think I am preaching – you know that I really feel for you and your situation. I also know the feeling of rather swallowing than trying to explain to other people. It is hard to make people understand without sounding that you are rationalising or covering.
    .-= hardspear´s last blog ..Slap Chips, The Countess, The Gay Latino and the Crazy Militants =-.

  27. sleepyjane says:

    I’ve met Damian and he’s so awesome. It makes me sad too, that people don’t see past the exterior of a person.

    In my opinion, people that don’t mind standing out like Damian do, make for the best people.

    Also, the security guard is weird. LOL
    .-= sleepyjane´s last blog ..And I went ahead and did it anyway, because he asked =-.

  28. Kerryn says:

    Aw, that really is so sad! I wish life could be easier. Perhaps the neighbourhood kids could come over when you or Glugs is home to ‘supervise’. It might be a kind of middle ground?
    .-= Kerryn´s last blog ..It’s a fight to the death =-.

  29. Panni says:

    Unfortunately most people just look at what’s on the outside and don’t really want to look further. It must be so difficult for you and I would also be hurt and sad. Strongs.