As you may or may not know, Mighty Joe thinks he can drive. This isn't the first time MJ has had an inkling that he may have the skills to drive PopPop's golf cart. You can read about his first attempt here: MIghty Joe Drives.
It has been a few years since that previous driving attempt. Mighty Joe has grown a bunch and he has learned many new skills. He is a fish at swimming. He bikes like Evel Kneivel. He hikes with me wherever I go. Yet, and I emphasize, Mighty Joe still cannot drive.
In his little brain, Mighty Joe still thinks he can drive. In fact, I picture that in his little mind, he sees himself cruising down the highway with the top down on his convertible sports car. In the world of his imagination he's probably wearing driving gloves or a driving jacket with a scarf billowing back in the breeze. The music is blaring. The coastal road swerves right and left as the rocky cliffs overlook the California coast. The beautiful sunshine beams down on him as he drives freely down the road. That's probably what he imagines.
THIS IS REALITY.
I've never really written about this here on theMangoTimes, but raising a little boy with special needs can be very tiring. There are a lot of readers who are probably tapping out a response to tell me right now that says: "Raising any little boy can be tiring." Yeah. I get it. I've walked that path with four other boys and I have stared buffoonery in the face, but Mighty Joe takes it to a new level.
I am also aware that the challenges our little Joe faces are not half the struggle others are dealing with. He can walk, talk, eat, see, and hear. It is super hard for him, but he is learning to read and write and he does the best he can in school.
It doesn't help that Mighty Joe is one of the cutest kids in town and from the casual observer he looks, acts, and plays like a normal little 8 year old. It is not until you spend more time with him one on one that you will see that he struggles with impulsivity. More than the typical 8 year old, he struggles with paying attention and basic issues of judgment. He's a busy little guy that needs full time supervision. Seriously, he's a sneaky little fart.
I know many of you will want to laugh this off and say, "He's just a boy." That is a natural response and I would have said the same thing. This is where the "walk a mile in each others footsteps" slogan comes in handy. Earlier in the day, before the golf cart crash, we found nail polish painted all over the bathroom. Yesterday, it was the sidewalk chalk all over the house. Before that it was Sharpie marker all over the car seats and before that he lost his sister's driver's license. All summer long it has been repeated reminders that we don't throw rocks or peach pits in the pool. I could go on, because the list is never ending. It can be very tiring.
I love this boy with every molecule in my body. His laugh is so stinking funny and his antics and sweet face really do help. Reminding myself almost daily that his brain is broken as a result of a real shitty summer virus also helps. Watching the other seven kids in the house learn to love their little brother and lose any fear they might have had for people with special needs also helps. Learning everyday that I'm not in control (and never was) also helps. In the meantime, it can be very tiring.
If you are still reading. This isn't a rant. I just wanted to be a little transparent and pull the veil back on what you see when you look at the Fletcher family on social media or this blog. Our family has fun. We live a life of adventure. We blog. We podcast. We share the awesome parts of big family life. This is just one quick glimpse at the trickier times and the real parts of life that might not get shared as often.
I love to preach positivity. There is a lot of positive things in this story. Mighty Joe has still not attempted to drive an actual motor vehicle. It is also good to note that no one was hurt (except the planter box). Like the last time he tried to drive we thankfully had the house there to stop him. The golf cart remains fully operational.
I'll continue to celebrate Joe's successes. I'll continue to share great pictures and videos of him caring and loving for his two companion dogs. He is an awesome cast member in the Fletcher School of Crazy Behavior.
Stay tuned. There will be many more days of antics and many more tiring days too.
Quietly making noise,