Wednesday, April 11, 2012
An Old Soul
Connor joined me on the porch last night. He began our conversation with "I can't believe I'm about to turn 18 Dad. Life just flies by. One minute your 5, the next minute you're turning 18." When did he become such an "old soul"? I guess he didn't have much choice.
The conversation has left me pondering his "place in the world". Growing up with a hearing impaired mom, a Tourette's/OCD (probably borderline autistic) dad, and an Asperger's/Tourettes younger brother probably didn't leave him much say in the matter. Apparently it's cost him his illusions/delusions just like it has me.
As we discussed his topic of choice, I asked him "Do you like your life? Are you happy?" His responses were yes and yes. "I have a good life dad." This provided some solace against the rush of thoughts that had already begun to overtake me. I asked him again this morning and got the same answers without hesitation. Good. I just may live through this.
Reviewing what the last 13 years or so have been like for my eldest reveals an extremely polar existence. We've made lots of amazing memories together. Traveling, Cub Scouts, storm chasing, music, we've had a blast. In many ways, his has been an idyllic childhood. On the other hand, being "Nathan's brother" has been quite expensive for him. He's had to learn a lot of lessons about life and people far earlier than most. He's seen the best and worst of life and people. He's had both luxury, and want. He's witnessed the kindness of strangers and the cruelty of family. It's been a lot to process for a bright, witty, sensitive and shy kid.
He's left me considering what my own choices have cost him. We, his parents, have been forced to deprive one child because the needs of the other absolutely necessitated it. I'm fully aware that there's no way we could have gotten all of it right. Though it's "gone both ways", the truth is that his is the "shorter end of the stick" more often than not. I could not be more proud of how he's marched through it all without bitterness or rebellion. In times like this, I see glimpses of the man he's becoming. Much remains to be taught and learned. Still, I can't help but notice the friend, companion, and confidant he's growing into. A part of me will always think he "deserved better". Other parts grudgingly admit that all of this has made him who he is.