Understanding My Boy

The boy is crying. Again. Except “crying” doesn’t capture it. He is bawling. He is screaming. He is weeping. He is wailing. He is furious.

He is afraid. And I have no idea why.

Just moments ago he was happy. All was right in the world in which he lives. Just moments ago.

Maybe he’s hurt himself when I wasn’t looking. Maybe his skin feels like it’s exploding. Maybe Elmo on this episode has a slightly deeper voice that still sounds too high to me, but makes all the difference in the world to him. Maybe the orange magic marker he’s been carrying around since Friday isn’t exactly the right shade anymore. Maybe his little trampoline isn’t bouncing him high enough.

All I can do is hold him and cry too. And I think to myself for the nine thousandth time since he was two and a half: I really want to understand my son.

I want to be able to connect with him. To see that magic marker as the window into the orange universe that it is for him. To taste the cacophony of music, vibrations, sounds, and sometimes words that echo across his tongue, down his back, through the balls of his feet as his bounces on them.

Like him, I want to hug the air and feel her hugging back.

I want to understand him, but when I need to the most, it just doesn’t happen. Beings living in different dimensions of space and time just can’t.

And yet, occasionally, it happens. Just enough for me to believe again. Just enough for me to wake up in the middle of the night with tears rolling down cause we were talking, he and I, just talking in the middle of my dream.

“Hey dad, CATCH!” “Hey dad, I want a hug.” “Hey dad . . .”

Just talking.

A couple of weeks back Sigan Hartley, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher, published a study that showed that 30% of dads with autistic, Downs and fragile X syndrome children experience depression. They already knew that moms basically have PTSD on levels similar to soldiers coming home from war. Somehow it was unique enough to hear about dads that it deserved to be published.

While I appreciate the attention, please, spend your time and energy studying autism, Downs, and fragile X instead. Help me understand my boy; I can deal with the depression.

I just want to understand him. Is that asking too much? Please?

– – –

And the boy is laughing. Again. Except “laughing” doesn’t capture it. Words really can’t. And while this change is a welcomed one, a wonderful one, a joyous one, I still don’t understand.

All I can do is hold him when he comes to climb in my lap.

All I can do is watch the tears roll down his cheeks because the joke is just too funny,

and cough a little because the laughter hurts a bit,

and laugh till I cry.

connected with my little guy

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L9JvSS-ti8′]

"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.


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