Achieving Manhood

LittleJ2015Jason just got home from camp. I shared with him some info about a very close family friend whose child may have an autism diagnosis. I told him for a few reasons; first, is he loves this child and would be very upset with me if I kept this info from him. Secondly, he is very compassionate, and finally, he gets it. He asked many typical questions and as he asked I couldn’t help but start to cry. Jason, with the most earnest look, said to me “why would you be sad if X (child) had autism?”. So there you have it, complete acceptance. I explained that I was emotional because I know how hard it is to deal with autism. He looked a bit puzzled, but then said, “Mom, look at Bryan, he has autism and he’s fine.” Now I was really crying. I am full on sobbing. That is truly how he sees him, in some ways. I am not sure if this is because Bryan is still away so he’s not faced with certain behaviors that drive him nuts, or because it is some sort of protective mechanism, or just his perspective. Any way I look at it, I am impressed.

It is always a lesson to parents with autism who have a typical sibling. The typical sibling has never grown up in a household without autism. They, unlike, us, know no different. He has never had a brother without autism. However, the warm acceptance of this should still not be minimized.

My behavior, however, made me feel a bit shameful so I offered more of an explanation to him, as if in some way I could, in one conversation, explain that I love and adore Bryan with all of my heart, but that you want your kid to be as perfect, correction, as normal/typical as they can be. As a parent, you cannot project that upon the other kid, nor should you, it’s not their burden. I really didn’t have to get far into the conversation before he stopped me to tell me he understands. He said “you are the mom”.  Next we spent some time talking about why does the doctor think this child has autism, etc. etc. etc.

Jason’s Bar Mitzvah is less than one month away. While I love to express myself in writing, I have been having a very tough time putting into words some sort of speech or toast to him. I feel as if words that can adequately express the love, admiration, pride for him are swirling around in my brain but cannot connect cohesively. I have already deleted 4 drafts. UGH.  Bryan will be home tomorrow night. I am hopeful that getting back into the routine of watching the boys together will allow the words to come together.

2 thoughts on “Achieving Manhood

  1. Great piece. There is always at least some small but truly insightful thought in all of your blogs. I think any parent can relate but certainly anyone dealing with autism or learning disabilities sees themselves in your writing. I look forward to each blog entry! (And Jason is obviously a deeply compassionate, sweet kid!)

  2. Beautifully written! But Jane, don’t think for a moment that Jason is as wonderful and accepting with Brian as he is just because he’s never known a non-autism family life. Lots of siblings are in the same category, but don’t really “get it” until adulthood (my non-autistic child), and some never do.

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