Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two people, one body

Most of you have read enough about Son18 to have a little insight into his disabilities. He is smart but very narrowly focused on his own agenda in life. He is funny and chatty but usually chooses not to talk to anyone. He has massive anxieties and compulsions. He is fun and interesting and frustrating and annoying - all at the same time.

But the most consistent thing I could point out would be his immaturity. He generally has been slow to reach developmental milestones. He still loves to play with his toys. He has routinely been far behind all his peers in everything from taking his first step to appreciating contemporary music.

Until now. Son18 has a girlfriend. I know...I'm even more surprised than you! But yes, between school and facebook and the phone, he has slowly developed a crush on a classmate. And apparently, she feels the same way about him.

This is simply stunning to us! He is suddenly showing us an entirely different person than what we've known for the last 18.5 years. The kid who just spent a large portion of his allowance to purchase custom pieces to add to his massive Lego collection is also asking questions about how to use cologne, wanted his own razor and shave cream, and actually seems to care what he is wearing.

Our heads are spinning. There is just a cognitive disconnect when your kid builds Lego creations while waiting for his girlfriend's mom to come pick him up for an afternoon of movie watching at her house. But that is exactly what took place yesterday.

We are happy for him that he has a girlfriend. We worry how his OCD will rear its ugly head when it comes to talking on the phone and sending messages. And we already dread the fallout when this crush is over. And let's face it, it will be over at some point. And what does that do to someone who has spent hours in tears thinking he will never have a friend?

Joy. Worry. Fear. All the emotions swirling in our heads.

But the biggest thing at the moment is just trying to get to know this new person who has shown up in Son18's body.

27 comments:

Cocotte said...

Wow....is the girlfriend typical or does she have a disability? My daughter is upset because she wants to go to the winter formal, but all her friends have dates. She thinks she will never have a date. It's heartbreaking.

Please let us know how things progress.

Debbie said...

The worries seem to be the same no matter who the child, don't they? I hope this phase in your son's life is a positive one.

Big Brother said...

No matter what the age, you always worry about how your child will cope with life, even when they are adults. Comes with the job I guess.

Mama Mara said...

I am doing a happy dance here! You always have stories that fill me up with hope for my sons. Yay for autie romance!

barefoot gardener said...

How Wonderful! How Frightening!

First crushes, first relationships...they are all hard, no matter who you are. And being a parent of a child going through their first "love" is nail-biting for sure....

Good luck to all of you!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

It's wonderful that he has had the courage to take this important step toward maturity. Hopefully with this new beginning will come the ability to move on with equanimity when it ends, which it invariably will at his age.

As parents, all we can do is rejoice with our children in their triumphs and bolster them in their trials.

Holly Nappi Collins said...

I'm no expert but I think it's supposed to happen that fast...at least for you. Ride with it and, um...keep us posted would ya!!!

Jazz said...

Ah but, you know what? When and if it ends, you and Mrs. Em will be there to help him through.

He's lucky you'll be there to lean on. And no doubt he knows and appreciates that.

It's the best thing you can give a kid I think the knowledge you'll be there gives 'em the courage to go for it.

Or I suppose so. What the hell do I know, I have no kids.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

Good for Son18! What a huge step! As others have asked, please keep us informed about this. My son is starting to indicate an interest in possibly having a girlfriend and would probably do the same thing - build Lego while waiting to go watch a movie with her. Best wishes!

citizen of the world said...

Probably he will be sad when it ends (who isn't?), but what a great experience for your son! And isn't that the way of parenting - it's yur job to worry. I hope he is really able to enjoy this and grow from the expereince.

VioletSky said...

The first is always so bittersweet. So exciting and frightening at once.

Kylie w Warszawie said...

Sometimes the first is THE one.

You never know.

Em said...

Cocotte - All I know is that she does have one resource room period with Son18...so there must be some challenge. But beyond that, I don't know. And yes, to want to go to the formal and not be able to is hard for her and you.

Mama Mara - glad my stories fill you with hope. You and I will just keep each other going!

For the rest of you...yeah, it is good. And bad. And I'll keep you up to date on the young romance.

whimsical brainpan said...

Congratulations to your Son!

Yes it will likely end with heartache but that's a milestone he has to deal with too. For now I hope it lasts a good while and he enjoys himself. :-)

Kati said...

Awww, Em!!! That's fabulous, and scary!!!! I can appreciate the thrill, and the frustration, with thinking that your son has reached this new level of emotional maturity, but not sure how to protect him from the inevitable pain that comes with love. I hope that whatever let down comes at the end of this "relationship" is a gentle one, that all involved recover from quickly. Best case scenario, may they continue to be friends but find the maturity to admit that they're better friends than boy-friend/girl-friend.

Awwww, I'll keep your son and his "girlfriend" in my thoughts.

Jenster said...

Wow, Em. This is big stuff! Thank you so much for sharing this journey because you make me think about things I wouldn't otherwise.

(And BTW - I love to play with Legos and I'm WAY past 18. lol)

Trish said...

Oh my . . . yes, very mixed emotions indeed.

Just Another Girl said...

I can understand all your mixed emotions but had to laugh at the Lego thing because my son is addicted.... but he isn't 18 :-)

I know it seems somewhat overwhelming, especially the fallout thing but that may not be so much different from any parent who has to deal with heartbreak. It may have some different ramifications but no matter what it generally sucks.

Maybe this will be a great growing experience for your son.

(((((HUG)))))

Jill said...

That's awesome.! I'm so happy for him.

It's sounds like he has fewer anxieties about the opposite sex than I did at his age. Go Son18!

Casdok said...

Wow! How wonderful for him. But yes i can understand all your emotions.

Jocelyn said...

You write the loveliest posts. This is such a wonderful reflection of a very specific moment in your parenting a very specific child...yet it speaks to all of us.

Thomas said...

Just be there when he needs you. The crush will end, but the great leap forward doesn't have to be a great leap back.

Good for the boy.
Can I have his legos?

Sheila said...

Em how's it going? long time no talk buddy, how u been?

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Bardouble29 said...

Hi Em...

It has been awhile since I have been around. I am wanting to start blogging again.

But I wanted to make a round to all my favorite writers! One of them being you.

What and exciting and scary venture your son has launched on. I hope that this proves to be a huge learning tool for him and that as a parent you will be able to help him every step of the way.

Cocotte said...

Any chance of you coming back and updating us on your son? Hope all is well!

Dx said...

I know how he feels. My problem is that I didn't get round to caring what I was wearing until last year, so there's hope for Son18 yet. By the way, why haven't you posted anything for so long?