THE ADVOCATE 387
VOL. 76 PART 3 MAY 2018
is the answer to everything. I shout at her that I need a Band-Aid but she
does not look up so I go right up to the window and pull a chair up and stand
on it and hit the window with my fists—I wish I could break it! I push my
knee right onto the glass and smear blood on the glass and then she looks
up and gets off the phone.
Charity – March 2017
It is the last Saturday of the month, late morning. I have locked myself in
I am so tired. I didn’t know when I started that it would be so difficult to
divert the course of the cortisol that flows into River’s brain when he is triggered.
Each hormonal flood carves more deeply the harmful pathways they
etch on his brain, like a fast river carving pathways through rock. The more
times he goes into the fight, flight or freeze response, the more damage his
brain sustains and the less likely it is he will master his triggers.
I came to my job caring for River with a tender heart and a firm resolve,
grateful for a chance to make a difference. Now, my heart is a carapace,
though he can still find my heart’s soft underbelly when I am not careful.
Now, my resolve wavers, like an image reflected on water but dispersed in
the wake of a pebble.
River is my first social work client. I remember watching him in the early
days on his hands and knees in a sea of Lego pieces. He would alternate
between frenzied searching for right pieces (punctuated by swearing, some
of the curses new to me!) and peaceful silence as he worked to fit new
pieces into his design. He looked beautiful, his small, close-set eyes perfectly
suited to his unwavering determination.
Today I took River to the skating rink for Family Skate Time. 9:00 a.m.
sharp. I am responsible for ensuring he socializes every day. He has been
kicked out of school for aggressive and disruptive behaviour. I homeschool
him now. Providing him with social opportunities in the community is a
struggle since he is also aggressive and disruptive out there.
River seemed happy about the prospect of skating this morning. He sat
still while I laced up his skates, watching intently as I threaded the laces
around the eyes, pulling tight, then tighter still. He did not wait until my
skates were laced up before he stepped out on the ice.
The ice surface was crowded, a scene from a Dutch or Flemish Master’s
painting. I was trying to both lace up my own skates and keep an eye on