Ace, Jay and I were in the car when Jay asked “How many is 31?”
Ace and I both replied with “9”.
It wasn’t a script. Jay was asking a real question and the answer really was 9.
Ace and I knew this because we understand the way Jay speaks and to a certain extent, how he thinks.
He wanted to know how many days there were before it would be Halloween. (October 31st).
The rest of the conversation flowed easily and both boys skipped happily off to school that day but I couldn’t get the question out of my mind.
How many is 31?
The more I thought about it, the tighter my chest got because this is my worry. THIS.
How does my son get by in a world where the vast majority of people won’t understand him? How does he do it every day without myself or Ace to help him?
If he had asked anyone else that question they would have had no clue what he was talking about and it would have lead to frustration and maybe anger.
How many times in a day does he have to go through this? Over the simplest of things. How difficult is it for him really?
The ability to communicate is huge. Imagine for a second what it’s like to not be able to make any of your wants, feelings, pain, opinions known.
Thankfully Jay is no longer in that position. He can do/say a lot.
But I worry about my boy.
At first glance and even at second glance he doesn’t appear to need any special treatment or extra help or patience. He seems quite typical.
But he’s not.
I worry about him and how he navigates school and play dates and weekends spent with family and friends on his own.
I am amazed at his ability to adjust. I am amazed at how patient HE is with US. How he tries to get us to understand. How he asks for more details about things we’ve said so that he can understand.
On most days I feel like he’ll be alright. He’s managed pretty well thus far. I mean, he’s come SO far. It’s staggering really. People who knew him just a couple of years ago would not recognize the smart, sweet, funny, creative, independent, friendly, playful, chatterbox little boy he is now.
But then there are the days that I can’t shake my fears and all I can do is hope that as he gets older and spends more and more time away from me, most of the people he encounters will have a kind heart and will recognize that he needs just a little extra … Time. Help. Understanding.