Every year around this time, my son loses weight and does not sleep well. He is anxious and the anticipation of Christmas is almost too much for him. As he has matured, it has not been too bad, but this year it's starting a bit early.
Brother has served the 5:00PM Christmas Eve mass for the past 5 years. He expected to continue until he turned 18. However, this year he won't be serving as he has been asked to stop being an altar server for the foreseeable future.
See, there was a complaint that he was too intimidating and aggressive with the younger servers. Then another complaint came through that he pushed a 16 year old girl and he was called a bully.
I spent the afternoon after learning of all of this in tears. I just could not stop crying and if you know me in real life, you know that's very unusual.
There were several things about this whole situation that bothered me. One, they contacted Ben, and not me. We've already resolved the whys and although I don't agree with it, I understand the reasoning.
Two, Brother is incapable of being a bully. A bully is systematic and plans to pick on kids. I wish Brother had the ability to think things through and be systematic about the meanness. I am not saying he doesn't come off as mean or aggressive. He can be. I asked him about it all. His words? "I can't stand it when they don't know what they're doing on the altar." He was correcting them in a gruff, not gentle manner. That I can see. As for pushing the girl? I refuse to believe he pushed her on purpose. He would never do that. I asked him about that too. If he had pushed her deliberately, he would've 'fessed up. He always does eventually. I think he pushed past her in getting from one side of the room to the other. People aren't necessarily people when he needs to get where he wants to go; they're objects. I'm explaining, not excusing his behavior.
Three, why was he never given a chance to answer to these accusations? He was given a lecture on trying to behave better the first time a complaint came through. And, what a loss for both sides to learn. The younger servers had an opportunity to learn how to deal with someone with special needs and Brother a chance to learn to be more gentle in his corrections.
I grieved more for my son the day I found out what had happened than I ever did. I know his life will continue to be difficult. I know that I will never again feel comfortable letting him be independent at church. I had become complacent because his therapies had finished. My son still participates in Squires but I'm not all that easy sending him off when Ben is not around. Never since we had his diagnosis have I wished his autism away. It is what made him Brother. But that day? I wished it away with a vengeance. His whole life will be a series of misunderstandings because of his lack of awareness and the lack of awareness of others.
And, it just breaks my heart.