Monday, May 18, 2015

Love/Hate (No Country At All)

It would seem that Nathan, Amanda, and I have "love/hate" relationships with both the school year and the summer break as well.  Each brings its own set of challenges and benefits, struggles and blessings.

The school year is always an odyssey.  The late nights, frustrations, and demands of Nathan's education are hard on us all.  It can be downright demoralizing at times.  It pushes us all past limits we didn't know we had.  

In the midst of all this, Nathan is surrounded by his peers.  He is forced into people's lives.  Most seem to enjoy his presence.  Everyone we meet tells us how much they love him and has a "Nathan story" to tell.  He loves this.  He feels he has a place and people.  During this time, a portion of his life resembles, in some way, that of his peers.

Then comes the summer.  Our tired family counts the days.  We rejoice in Nathan's success in completing another year with solid grades.  Our excitement is easily eclipsed by Nathan's.   He gets weeks of free days and evenings, with only his few chores to demand his time and effort.  

Summer is "The Silent Time".  When his colossal frame leaves their site, the rest of him leaves their minds.  Summer presents a desolate passage.  With the almost crushing demands of the school year, so go his peers.  He spends countless hours alone in his room just passing the time.  We interject entertainment and social interaction as much as we can, but are a paltry substitute for the school year illusion that he has a place with his peers.  

Amanda and I enjoy the break and do our best to push back the creeping bitterness that witnessing his solitary state invariably brings.  We've exhausted every civilized means to change this part of his yearly journey, but to no avail.  I prepare myself to battle back the anger, angst, and mordancy of watching this part of my own experience reenacted on my son like some perverse birthright.  

I recently posited that there is "no country for old autistics".  I think I was wrong.  I suspect there is no country for any of us, no country at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment