Monday, August 17, 2015

A Tale of Two Families

My die-hard readers will very quickly recognize this entry hearkening back to "No Country for Old Autistics".  I've recently been pondering the strange dichotomy between those families who value both Nathan and me both in spite of, and because our differences, and those families who have members, generally the children, Nathan's peers, who value Nathan, but find me completely unacceptable. I've gone to equal lengths to know and show tangible appreciation for both families. The polar reception I've gotten has left me perplexed.

As usual dear readers, when I'm perplexed, I drag you all "along for the ride".

This topic would scarcely pass muster for a blog entry had I not invested as much thought into it over the years we've know these two families. Their reception of Nathan only differs due to the personality differences in the individuals involved. There is little if any quantifiable difference in their acceptance of Nathan.  My experience could scarcely be more different.  All examples I'll use are primarily actions-based.  I place very little stock in words, though some examples will be of things said that reflect the opinions of the speaker.

I'll start with the kids, Nathan's peers.  Both are real, loyal friends. They each involve them in their lives in unique, but equally valuable, valid ways.  Both feel very protective over him and have no tolerance for any form of mistreatment that "lesser humans" may wish to attempt. Both have proven their loyalty behaviorally.  

For anonymity's sake, I'll refer to these families as Family A and Family B. Children from Family A value me equally with Nathan. I receive full acceptance and feel very loved by the whole group. I consider the parents my friends and the children as lovely blessings who pour into my heart in ways they can't yet understand.

Family B continues to perplex me. The older children place great value in Nathan.  Their level of acceptance and value toward him are indistinguishable from Family A. The parents are benevolent toward him, though not as involved with him as Family A.  

Things get strange when I enter the picture.  Family B's kids are unpredictable. They can be engaged, respectful, and almost accepting at times. At other times, their indifference and almost palpable disdain borders on dismissive and rude. The adults in the family don't perplex me at all.  In their eyes, there is something very wrong and unacceptable with me. I won't give quotes of things they've said to my face. Doing this would identify them to my "inner circle". Suffice it to say, these are some of the most insensitive, rude, and demeaning things anyone has said to me in my adult life. I've learned the hard way to avoid the adults in Family B whenever possible.

The solution should seem easy enough. Avoid all of Family B. Allow Nathan his relationship with the Family B kids and move along. It's not that easy.  I can't help but love those who love my children. I've wanted desperately to turn it off, but can't find the switch. It's a disconcerting position at best.  

I'm left with few options. Family A is golden, and are treated as such.  They enrich our lives in more ways than I can list and allow us to do the same for them. I won't interfere with Family B's relationship with Nathan.  He enjoys and gets great benefit from it. For his sake, I will accept my debased humanity in their world.  

Let me close with a disclaimer. There are several candidates for both Family A and Family B's position in this entry. Abstraction is used to protect both the golden and the guilty.

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