J is a guy. I’ve been focusing on the “autistic” part of his composition, but -in essence- he’s just a guy. If an alchemist were to reduce him to the most primordial element, this element would be guy-ness. I am trying to reconcile the past fourteen years of my life with this idea. My nest will never be empty, but the bird -by virtue of being a guy- won’t really pay that much attention to me.
I am not bitter. I sounds like I might be, but I really am not. I’m just…stumped! Of all the things I would have expected (what with all the reading and research I do) guy-ness being preeminent among all of J’s characteristics wouldn’t have been at the top of the list. I stand corrected now: J is a guy.
And moving on…
I guess my role becomes more important from Monday through Friday. This morning I was the number one person on his radar. Well, hello there, woman with the red robe and the fuzzy hair. Don’t you look…MONDAY today! Yesterday I wasn’t really important until I put a plate of home-made gnocchi and roasted chicken in front of him. Ah, THERE you are! What a lovely meal…gnom gnom gnom…and may I have seconds? A little more cheese, a little more cheese…don’t be stingy, baby! Oh, that was delicious and BYE!!!!!!!!
I looked at TGG and my husband and said “that’s it? That’s what it is? I’ve been reduced to the purveyor of meals? I’m to be ignored the rest of the time? Patted on the head occasionally? Remembered on special dates?” There was a brief cessation of gnocchi and roasted chicken consumption, a look was exchanged, and then they both shrugged and nodded. Yeah, pretty much…uh-huh!
But WHY??????????? I’m cool! I’m funny! I’m interesting! I take care of your every need and make sure we have everything that is required for a happy, balanced home life! (I admit I was starting to sound like an evil Sally Field demanding the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences like her…really, really like her…DAMMIT!) I turned to TGG and said did you feel that way? Did you want to just eat and run back to your room? Not unkindly, he smiled and said “did? What do you mean did? I still do!” My husband laughed. Were you like that with your mom? “Oh, yeah…of course! Are you kidding me? I would be in my room most of the time. Or I’d go to my friends’ houses and we’d hang out. I didn’t want to talk to my MOM!” TGG interjected “there’s crap you want to think about that your mom is not very helpful with.”
“Your gnocchi’s getting cold…and it’s good!,” they said as they got up for seconds. That’s my saving grace, I thought to myself, I can cook!
I admit I am a little… Sorry, I’m still looking for the proper word. There are moments when I feel relieved and others when I feel deflated. I would have LOVED it if someone had sat me down and informed me of this years ago. The mental fold where I tuck in the emotional turmoil would have been a little less like puppies cavorting in a pillowcase if I’d known this. I’ve been working overtime to make up for one thing when, in the end, another thing overrides it…go figure.
At least, thank goodness, no one here has suggested I find a “hobby.” The men in the household (the ones who can verbalize this clearly) have simply told me that I’m cool and that they know I love them. I’m not supposed to take personally all the maleness around me. If someone is in their room, I don’t have to worry that they’re sad or worried or have a problem. If I don’t get more than a cursory “good morning” (or “good norming” in J’s case) it doesn’t mean they wish I’d stayed in bed. When they are playing whatever video game it is that they are focused on this week it doesn’t mean I annoy them; I annoy them when I want to know how it’s played and how long they’ve been playing, and if they’re sure they don’t want a snack and have they changed their sheets, is that the same shirt you were wearing yesterday? Don’t ask about the shirt…it IS the same one. It’s none of your business if our underwear is clean or has no holes in it…believe me…you DON’T want to know.
OK. The same goes for J, I’m told. If he says he put on deodorant, believe him. If J hugs you like you’re covered in slime, it’s OK. If J stays in his room and you hear him laughing, HE’S HAPPY…and he probably will stop laughing if you come in and ruin everything. If he needs or wants help, he’ll ask for it…but he has to need or want these things badly enough. If he asks US for help, it’s not that serious…if it’s something he can do by himself and he asks YOU for help, he’s just trying to spend time with you. He’s not going to come right out and say anything…HE’S A GUY!
I think I now know how Rip Van Winkle felt when he woke up from his 25 year nap. Things look the same, but they’re different. I can take a deep breath and concentrate on other things. Not hobbies…heavens, no…no hobbies. I can concentrate on the things I need to do to keep things flowing, but this bend in the river is not as fraught with craggy rocks as other bends have been. I’m doing just fine. My approval rating is pretty good, even if it’s not reflected in my constituents’ outward expressions.
All this time I’ve been wondering if it’s me, but it’s them. They tell me I’ve done a good enough job that when they screw up they know it’s all going to be OK. They know they are loved. They know they’re accepted. They want their privacy, their space. It’s called Me-Time for a reason, TGG says; we all need a Man Cave, he adds.
I don’t know if I can handle all this loving approval laced with guy-ness. This chapter isn’t covered in the manual, is it?