Saturday, July 07, 2012

Letting go

Graham finished up a week's camp at the NC Autism Society yesterday.  This was a week for kids at the kids at the high-functioning, Asperger's end of the spectrum.  To close off the week, they had a talent show where each kid got to showcase a unique talent of his or her own.  Graham didn't feel like he had a specific talent he wanted to share, so he decided to be the MC, and for the whole second half of the proceedings, Graham introduced kids and complemented those who had just gone on what they had just done.  With a little coaching from the counsellors, Graham did a truly fine job.  One kid had decided to demonstrate his basketball prowess.  Graham took the mike and said "Please direct your attention to the left side of the gym, where Billy (not necessarily his real name) will be shooting hoops."

It was pretty striking to watch the assembled kids.  Some of those in this cohort of ostensibly "high-functioning" kids did not appear to be all that high-functioning. Graham really held his own, but I felt myself being consumed with much of the fear that Mary manifests, that this adorable, sweet boy of ours my indeed have a difficult time making it in the world on his own. I wonder if he will take the turns that his cousin Daniel has, maturing from a challenged kid with a diagnosis into a very fine specimen of homo sapiens.  Or will he always need a lot of support?

It seems characteristic of fathers of special needs kids to keep themselves in denial of their kids special needs, and I do often find myself wondering how much Graham differs from how I was as a kid.  After all, I was as skinny and geeky and bullied as they come and I made it out OK (current career challenges  notwithstanding).  What would my diagnosis have been? How much of this is denial, how much reality?

But I am also mindful that adult kids of alcoholics like myself tend to let their minds race to spiraling negative scenarios about everything.  As in, "Oh my God, my child is doomed!!"  And that does nobody any good. Anyhow, days full of thoughts and feelings.

But, it must be owned, Graham was one kick ass MC.  I gotta load up one of those videos for yall to see.

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