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.