A friend dubbed him Nate the Great years ago, way before I noticed anything out of the ordinary and the beginning of our battle. The name stuck. I’m glad it did. He is the greatest.My daughter taught me how to love completely, Nate is teaching me to love differently.
His diagnosis has brought so much clarity. The clarity changes the way we deal cutting down on frustration and melt downs. One of the things that I’m most proud of is his improvement of social skills. The things that we take for granted are HUGE steps for NTG. He named 6 friends the other day! There were no pauses. He didn’t need to snap his fingers to jog his memory. He knew the names of 4 classmates and 2 neighborhood kids. “No, no. Sit down I’ll get your pizza for you.” He’s a sweetheart so this isn’t groundbreaking. The fact that I was on the couch in pain and empathy clicked for him is. It’s been about 30 days since we got the diagnosis as much as it gives me hope I am scared to death for my baby. The fear has been crippling. I can put him in nurturing environments as far as home and school go. I can look as far ahead as college and start planning his enrollment into programs that pique his interest. There are plans in motion to care for him if something were to happen to me. For all my planning I can’t protect him from certain things. He is on the spectrum. He is Black. He turned 12 in the 30 days since he was diagnosed. Because he is Black his childhood no longer matters. Because he is on the spectrum this worries me.
Twelve year old Tamir Rice was murdered by police on November 22, 2014. I can’t even begin to express the heart ache for his mother and what could very easily be my son. I can’t bring myself to watch the video. I hear it took the officer 2 seconds to fire on him for having a toy gun in his possession. I cried my eyes out when I read about the brutal beating and eventual death of Kelly Thomas. “Dad help me…. They’re killing me.” Kelly said that at least 31 times. His death was at the hands of the police. He suffered from schizophrenia. I still get chills thinking about this man calling for his father while being beaten. I think about my son and the ways I alter how I give directions, the patience I have to have to get him through his days, his frustrated outbursts when things aren’t going his way. What happens if he ever encounters the police? What if the encounter is less than favorable? How do I protect my son? Seriously, how do I protect my on the spectrum Black son from police brutality? Will he lose his life for failure to comply? I thought I could go this alone. Somebody suggested a support group and I was convinced that I didn’t need to talk to other mothers; I’ve been dealing with this for years. I want a support group. I need some answers I need to know that there is hope for Black men/boys with mental health issues. I need to know that NTG will survive.