Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When Being the Paddle in the Pinball Game is all you Can Do

I suddenly realized that for my kids with FASD, one in particular, life is like a game of pinball -- and he is the ball.

Contrast him with me just as an example (because I am the exact opposite of the way he lives his life).

If you ask me "What are you going to do today" and you really want to know the answer, I can probably give you a minute by minute description of everything that I am planning to do today. From now until this time I will do this, then this, then this. My day is divided into blocks of time that I have things scheduled in -- whether officially or not -- and I will intentionally plod through my day hoping that nothing gets me off track too badly.

For my son, life is very different from that. He will wake up, wherever he is, probably look around to figure out WHERE that is, and then wait either until someone calls or texts him, or the person he is with suggests something in person, or until he has a thought or an impulse, and he will follow that impulse.

I haven't seen him much for about a week. But every few hours another vehicle with people we have never seen before pulls up in front of the house and he runs in and grabs something. He doesn't say anything to me, he just comes in, sometimes uses the bathroom -- or might take a shower -- and runs back out. The car drives away.

Sometimes he comes here with people and then he leaves and they don't and they are left in the yard. It's all just bouncing from one person to another.

I guess maybe we're like the paddles as parents. Most of the time the ball never gets way down to the bottom where he might slip through to .... jail? addiction? homelessness? danger? ... but when it does we reach over and with our resources, advice or attempts at understanding, manage to give him one more jolt back up into the game where he can begin to bounce from one idea ... person ... plan ... to the next.

I'm not sure that life can be any different than that for him, or that it ever will be. I spent his childhood thinking that I might be able to fix all that, but i was mistaken.

So this is the way life is for him. I'm not sure it will ever be anything different. But we adopted him and so now he has a couple paddles right in front of the hole in the bottom of the game. Kids who age out don't have them.


Lindy said...

I love the paddle analogy.It is so accurate.

Ellen said...

I like the idea of the pinball paddle. A really fitting word-picture. Glad to see your support of older child adoptions! I hope others are being moved as I am by your posts on the subject :) Thank You!!!!