So, hippy school is awesome, and Billy, at hippy school is an even more awesome boy. It is truly miraculous.
Each day we see more play, more engagement with his peers, more cheeky flexible boy-ness at school. Kids seek him out for play, and a bunch of games have been developed among the boys that include Billy, special needs and all. We've had those moments that I'm sure the parents of the NT take for granted, where you walk through the gates and someone says 'Cool, Billy (insert your kid's name) is here. Let's play... (insert complex kid game)'.
Being the idiot that I am, I cry when I hear this.
I sat this afternoon and observed a complete reciprocal conversation between Billy and his friend. It was part serious, part silly boy talk, totally understood by both boys. It had jokes, and shared understandings and points where both boys had to stop talking because they were laughing.
And then... there was this.
I sat talking to another Mum, while Billy sat with two boys playing with a squooshy ball (Bumpie Gertie Ball). Good move on Billy's behalf! They were chatting away, and Billy was totally keeping up. They all laughed. I looked over, marveling about what was going on, and I heard one of the boys say 'Your Mum's going to kill you!'. He meant, 'you might get in trouble'.
Billy's face fell. Big tears formed in the corners of his eyes. He stopped laughing. The other boys kept repeating the phrase - 'Your Mum's going to kill you... your Mum's going to kill you...' They were half chanting mindlessly, and half enjoying that they were getting a reaction. Billy started whispering to himself (never a good sign)... 'No she's not. My Mummy's not...'
I hoped the boys would see what was happening and work their way out of it with Billy. But no... they're little kids. They had no idea that their kid joke was being taken literally. They knew what they meant.
Billy had no idea.
He looked at me, little nose running and tears squeezing out of his eyes. He stood up, and came to me, burying himself in the safety of his Mummy. 'My Mummy's not...' he whispered, unable to look into my eyes.
'No, baby' I whispered back. 'I'm not. I'm just going to love you. No matter what.' I hugged him, hoping that between the sensory feedback and the love, he'd get a better message than the one he'd heard from the boys.
One minute it's brilliant, the next, it all seems way too hard.
There might not always be understanding, but there will always be love.