A Mind…Or Solitary?

It is a pretty frequent event in our minds where we find ourselves wondering what another person is thinking. Whether it is a friend or a complete stranger people tend to do things here and there that are so smart, or so dumb, that you can’t help but wonder how that person’s mind works, or doesn’t. It’s a common thought for me, however, there is a much more confusing question that I find with my son. Sure I wonder what he is thinking pretty much every time I look at him or interact with him throughout the day. Since he can’t speak there is no possible way that I could know the answer to that question, but I can speculate. I can create a rough idea of what he must be thinking. I mean after all it isn’t hard to break the code of his thoughts when he throws a thirty minute tantrum over not getting a third helping at dinner. What I can’t wrap my head around is how it must be to live in such a solitary place as his mind while having to interact with the world around you. To be so alone in the middle of everything. Granted he is smart with more things than that statements implies. The kid taught himself how to read through internet searches and YouTube for example. That’s pretty impressive to me. His intelligence seems so intact when it comes to something he is interested. Still he has no way to be a part of the people around him in the same way most of us can. There’s simply no understanding of social interaction for him. The bond that keeps all of us humans that realize we are all in the same group with the same needs and desires for fulfillment. That aspect of a person is totally absent for him.

Today Monkey’s brother had his first basketball game. It was a double-header and his team won both games, and as a result, we were all pretty geeked about it when we got home. His brother was of course going on and on about it and we went out to eat to celebrate. The typical episode of Wonder Years everyone hopes to experience with their kids basically. Though Monkey was with us, he wasn’t a part of the celebration. He seldom is. He doesn’t care why we are going out to dinner anymore than he would care on Christmas. All he wants to know is whether or not he will, at some point, be given noodles with his meal. If he has noodles the day went well for him. He’s a happy little dude. Now I find that charming about him in its own way but that reality can keep me awake at night.

It is so heartbreaking to have your child in situations so frequently where they are simply there more so than a part of the situation. Like that friend that is hanging out because he needs a ride home. With no interest whatsoever in the people around him. Monkey seems to love his brother, and I would like to think that he would be happy for his big day. That doesn’t change the reality that he doesn’t get to be excited for someone else or aware of the special holidays and how they bring the family together. He’s just looking for the cupcakes and the noodles. I can joke, and usually do, about how it must be cool to only have to worry about how you can get your hands on some cupcakes. It’s a coping mechanism because I can’t look at my son all doom and gloom, all the time. So you focus on the positives to his limitations and how they are cheeky or cute.

It’s no wonder he is so frustrated in is teenage years. So many things that he can understand and no way of relating them to anything or anyone. What he knows he can’t share. What he likes he can’t express with any detail or embellishment.  What he feels is an honest mystery to the people around him leaving him truly alone in the crowd on a daily basis. An absolutely brutal form of solitary confinement with no crime to pin it on. In its own right I can’t say it would be better if he did understand it was his little brother’s big day. It would mean that he would understand it is one that he could never have for himself.

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