Thursday, October 27, 2011

Everybody Loves Nathan.....

At least that's what they say.  Adults, even most kids actively proclaim how much they value him.  I even see glimpses of it in their behavior.  People speak to him.  Kids at school have their own inside jokes with him.  It's almost believable.  Almost.  It's believable, only in the same context as gold plated jewelery.  It shines, but it isn't real.

Everybody loves Nathan, but noone wants him around.  Every year we have a large birthday party for him.  We put it on.  The kids get standard kid fare.  I spend 8+ hours in the kitchen providing gourmet food for the adults.  Family and a small core of loyal friends come.  We always have a great time, and Nathan makes out like a bandit.  It makes him very happy.  Only Amanda and I know the true length of the guest list.  Only we know the names of the families we invited who didn't come.  Most never do.  A few have made appearances.  None are "regulars".  Nathan receives no such invitations.  He receives no texts, little Facebook traffic, almost nothing.

It's hard for me.  I struggle with bitterness.  It feels like people are "feeding on him".  Somehow knowing Nathan and declaring their love for their "special friend" improves their self-image.  I can understand that.  It's human nature.  Still, it eats at me at times.  He deserves better. 

I handle it better with his peers than adults.  They're kids.  Their acceptance of and value for him is expected to be immature and self-centered.  I issue no such indulgences for the adults, particularly those in his own family.  Blood may be thicker than water, but it's apparently thinner than discrimination and egocentrism. 

Haven't conquered this one yet.


  1. I have thought about this topic a time or two, and I always tell myself that most people do this unconsciously. When I was in school, I was the "smart kid" or "nerd". People said they were my friends but only because I could help them or because they needed something. I wasn't invited to the parties or get-togethers. I was rarely included anywhere socially, and I was often bullied. I did make a few really good true friends with the "nerds" but the hurt was still there. I tell myself that it was unconscious, but that is hard for even me to believe most times. I can see how this is hard for Nathan and for you. I will never understand what this exact situation is like or why people do it, but I know that Nathan is very loved. He has great parents and he is a very sweet kid. So sad that human nature sucks! Nevertheless, I hope he had a great birthday!

  2. That he did Jenn. I wish I could say he doesn't notice, but he's quite bright and observant.

    Thanks for the kind words. They do mean a lot to us. As always, thanks for being such a loyal reader and contributor to the discussion.

  3. I can't believe after raising 3 kids in wildly changing (geographically, emotionally, and otherwise) and working on a 4th that I have no pearls of wisdom that can touch this subject.
    But this is me we are talking that doesn't mean I don't have anything to say.

    You are a ROCK Brian.(Stay with me) a ROCK. You can't fix any of this, but some of it will crash against YOU and Nathan will be the better for it. A lot will probably crash against you when it comes to your family. I was on a team working out of Colon and we had a funny saying but we knew what it meant. We LOVED this saying: When we were in trouble, or in a bad situation and could not evac...there was no extract plan other than our feet...we'd come in together and do the silly high-fives you see in the silly war movies and say, "You can't move a ROCK." We were the rocks. We would not move. Since then I have wanted to be the rock for my kids, and I try.

    Get over the awkward and ill-explained compliment. I know you don't want it and never would fish for it or wish the subject to flip to you. I am not taking it back. Just from what I have observed from afar and in our small talks and from what I see here.

    Just do it. Be Nathan's ROCK..."You can't move a rock."