Incidental Beneficiary

In case you don’t know me I went to law school. I am a lawyer but do not practice. One of the things that happens after you go to law school is that you have a new language. Lots of Latin expressions and some legal expressions that stay in your head. So Jason and I were sitting outside of a movie theater waiting for Bryan on Sunday. Bryan had lunch and went to the movies with my sister (aka Aunt Frannie) and my mom (Grandma). I had this thought in my cooky head that Jason is the incidental beneficiary of Bryan’s autism. For those of you lay people (what a dumb expression) an incidental beneficiary is a party that indirectly benefits from a contract but is not a contracting party. Ok so my interpretation is not literal, we have no contract here. Because Bryan cannot hack certain activities, Jason gets to go and do a lot of things that Bryan cannot. On that same day, my dad (Grandpa) took Jason to the Sony Ericcson Tennis Tournament in Miami. I know exactly what kind of day it was for him. I had alone time with my dad and with my grandfather when I was a kid. I knew he would be spoiled, would eat whatever he wanted, and would feel special. I always share with the boys the wonderful memories I had growing up and going places with my Pop (my grandfather) and my cousins; the orange felt Knick sweatshirts (if you are from NY you say you are a Knick fan and a Giant fan; you don’t say Knicks fan or Giants fan), the cotton candy, the pennants that never got put up in my girly bedroom. Jason gets it and he had a burger, ice cream, got a t-shirt, a hat and a giant tennis ball and was home by 3pm, because HE was tired!! Reminds me of the time my Dad took my cousins and me to a Giant game, we sat on the 50 yard line but between the rain and the food, we made him go home before the half ended. But what really made me think was the incidental benefit that Jason gets from me. It’s not that I don’t talk to Bryan all of the time or spend time with him or do things with him. But because Bryan cannot communicate with me like Jason can, Jason and I have tons of little private jokes and our own thing. Now lots of people have this with their kid; private jokes and a good rapport. What I treasure about my relationship with Jason is that he shares in the Bryan stuff. He gets the triumphs, the little things, the joy. He gets the significance of a Bryan moment. We were waiting outside the theater and there was a poster for Jason Bateman’s new movie titled “Bad Words”. Bryan loves to say “bad words are bad”. How true!!! So Jason and I look at the poster and look at each other and just start to laugh. Not a chuckle, but a full on belly laugh. He has this maturity and depth that I admire so much. I love that I don’t have to explain to him why a small amount of Bryan progress is so huge.
There are other incidental beneficiaries of Bryan’s autism all around us. Our psychiatrist. We went to see her yesterday to talk about Bryan’s meds and perhaps something for Jason to help with some ADD type issues. She started with one patient and now sees all four of us. This is more of a joke, but the friendships, the surprising acts of kindness have all been incidental benefits I could never predict. Today I got an email from a HS friend about an article on autism in the NY Times. I would like to tell you something like this is unusual but I am lucky enough to say that I have tons of people in my life that send me articles, links, etc. So while I may be the designated beneficiary of these items, the incidental joy from these gestures is purely incidental.

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