The Day I Felt (Almost) Normal

I can imagine some people I know, pissing themselves just at the title; just stay with me here.

Today was parent’s evening and for the past four years, I have almost shat myself at the thought of this periodic event. Probably because in those early years it’s been an opportunity to drop little bombshells on me when I have let the barriers down. When I say little bombshells, I mean along the lines of slyly throwing into the end of a parent’s evening ‘we don’t think it’s working out for Joseph here and maybe you should try a special school’ Oh yes, it happened; I promise I will get to the rest of that story at some point in the future.

I spoke about another one in an earlier post where the teacher was nervously waiting to tell me how some older children in Joseph’s class had taken advantage of him and were teasing him. It broke our bloody hearts to know that some children, for whatever reason had done this to our innocent unknowing child and it made me sad and angry.

And despite us moving on from some of those more challenging times, it doesn’t stop me wishing for my toenails to be removed without anaesthetic rather than turn up for a chat with the teacher. I have longed for that experience that other parents have, where they are told that their child is excelling in a particular subject (and maybe doing fine in other areas but not below average). I don’t want to be sat there filling the time talking about wishy washy shite that is neither here nor there.

I often have conversations with Joseph which could probably be more accurately described as a conversation with myself. I say the words, half hoping that one day I will get a somewhat decent answer. This morning I told him I was going to be talking to his teacher later and asked him whether he would tell me he’d been a good boy or a bad boy. I didn’t give much thought to what I had said because I know most of the time, Joseph isn’t listening or doesn’t respond. But on this occasion, he stopped what he was doing, looked me in the eye and seemed genuinely worried. He pulled me close to him and said ‘give me a cuddle’. When I realised that I might have put the fear of God into him, I told him how I was sure that his teacher would be telling me he had been a good boy. I am certain he doesn’t know what a parents evening is but I tried to explain how other mums and dads would be there talking to the teacher and he would tell them about how their children are doing at school.

I considered why he might have been worried and put it down to the last time I had spoken to the teacher it was because Joseph had been giving out slaps left right and centre. Maybe he associated it with that, I don’t know.

So this evening, I rocked up at school with my twitcher going ten to the dozen wondering what rabbit would be pulled out of the hat tonight.

We spoke about how he had great recall and an aptitude for spelling; how he was progressing with his number work and how he was doing great with the guitar lessons. He has moments when he protests a little when asked to do something he doesn’t want to (don’t we all?) but generally he was settled and happy to be there.

And I waited.

Because usually we have this good shit, bad shit sandwich. My body language was clearly displaying signs of hostility and defensiveness and despite being told all these wonderful things about my son, I was waiting for a little bombshell.

And then it came.

Joseph is a very popular member of the class, with teachers and pupils.

My son. Popular. What the actual fuck?

I checked his face to see whether he was a killer clown (apparently they are everywhere) but his face was still smiling and seemed genuinely serious about it.

And I asked the question that nobody else would probably even ask.


Why is my son, who has limited social skills and can be a knobhead a lot of the time (something else I’m not meant to say), popular? What does he have to offer to any of these children in terms of friendship and to the teachers who probably look forward to his sick days?

He’s just Joseph and I actually like that he is nothing more, nothing less and in turn these children (and the teachers) with all their innocence do not expect anything else from this boy.

He is not Joseph who has autism. To them, he is Joseph their classmate.



15 Comments Add yours

  1. Winnettes says:

    I’m really glad you’ve had a positive parents evening! Well done Joseph for just being yourself!

  2. First time I’ve ever seen your blog. Loved this post. I had a little cry at the end. My 5 year old daughters best friend at school has autism and although this creates challenges sometimes, mostly he is a gorgeously caring kind friend and they have lots of fun together. I know how much his friendships means to his mum. Enjoy and feel proud xxx

    1. Tina Medlock says:

      Ahh thank you. I am touched by the amount of people who say they cry (& laugh) at my posts.

      How lovely that your daughter has fun with her friend-I hope Joseph’s friends say that about him too 🙂

  3. flutistpride says:

    Popularity gets lonely quickly.

  4. Mrs Happy says:

    As a teacher who has delivered her fair share of shit sandwiches I killed myself laughing reading about it from a parental perspective. We are told that we can never start with the negative, so have to find some positive crap to talk about first (to soften the blow obviously). I always wondered if parents saw right through it…

    1. Tina Medlock says:

      Hahaha see through what? 😉 Keep on with the sandwiches 🙂

  5. Lady Nym says:

    So glad you had a good parent’s evening! I have my first one after school today. I imagine it will be fine because Tyger tends to mask his autism very well outside the house and then fall apart at home but I’m still anxious (probably because of my own autism and anxiety over social situations).


  6. Kirsty @ My Home Truths says:

    What a great outcome for you and for Joseph x

  7. Thanks Kirsty…love reading your posts!

  8. Wow! I got goosebumps reading this as it’s such a lovely post. There is a boy in my son’s class with autism however the children don’t treat him differently and he’s a lovely boy. I don’t even think that the children realise and I only know because his Mum told me. I’m so pleased your son is settled and he should never need to be anyone other than himself!

    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes


  9. Thanks Janet. Kids can be so amazing can’t they? 🙂

  10. I sometimes think we have to go through all the shit just so that a ‘normal’ meeting like that means much more to us…. glad you’ve got to the good bit!

  11. You don’t know me and I don’t know you. I only started my terrifying journey in blogging to share my truth in motherhood a few weeks ago. I don’t even know how to chart my way through the wordpress site 😉 I am still using a flip-phone, so I cut myself some slack on that end 🙂 I happened to stumble upon the title of your blog and it caught my attention. Enough to make me read when I should be showering before racing out the door to my children’s birthday party 😉 I so admire your courageous stance as a mother to share in your story. It’s one I professionally know impacts so many women & mothers. Keep talking! It’s brave and I will be following for that very reason. In Love & Truth, Grace

  12. Hi Grace, I am so pleased you stumbled upon us and took the time to comment. I’m not sure how but I’m glad you’re here and hope you keep reading. If you do read more you’ll see I’m not completely with the wordpress programme but I’m learning as I go along! I have become braver as I’ve gone along but still have a long way to go. Thanks again 🙂

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