While we were reviewing some of the testing for one of the guys whom we serve, we noticed that testing shows he is on the level of an average four-year-old. It's hard to look at a six-foot black man who jumps out of vans, throws bananas at you, chases you around the house with frozen logs of hamburger meat and regularly pulls rearview mirrors off the windshield as a sweet little innocent four-year-old.
However, we have seen in the past week or so that this is exactly the case. He is just trapped in a man's body.
When Joshua and I were preparing our trip to come to Arkansas, I decided that I needed to prep this guy that I wasn't going to be around for a few days. Well, he immediately shut down. He refused to talk to me and looked really sad. When I asked what was wrong, he broke down crying. And crying. And sobbing and crying. He wanted to go see Lowell, but when he did, he just cried to Lowell. I was flabbergasted and continued to ask what was wrong, when he responded, "I'm sorry, I'll be good, I'll be better, I promise, I'm sorry." It truly broke my heart. He thought I was leaving because he had been bad. (Totally not saying that thought didn't cross our minds the first few weeks here, but not now. He really is better.) His experience in life is that he has been "bad" and people he cares about have left him. Now, as bad I felt, it was still really funny. He was sobbing and flailing around and essentially throwing a tantrum about the fact that we were leaving. When he finally calmed down, he just wanted a hug. It was really sweet, but also reminded us of a child whose mother has just announced she is going away for the weekend.
Then, when we came home, he was very excited to see me, but the first thing he asked was, "Did you bring me a treat?" Remind anyone of those preschool days?
But today, the thing he did truly and completely convinced me that the tests got it pretty close. We were going to get him a haircut. He waited patiently in the waiting room until called. He sat in the barber chair and as the woman was about to put the drape over him, he says, "I need a go to the bathroom." Well as any good mother would, I told him he needed to hold it and could go as soon as the lady finished. He sat there for a minute and then yells out for everyone to hear, "I'm a pee myseeeelllllffff!" The lady looks at me, rips the drape off of him and says, "I'll just finish getting everything ready while he takes a break."
Okay, lesson learned. And for the record, let me say that four is one of my favorite ages. I think we'll stick around awhile. It's pretty fun.