In December, I married a fabulous man with two wonderful sons, one of which has aspergers syndrome. Getting to know this 16 year old boy has been a journey around a mind I could never have imagined 1 short year ago. I say a “journey around” rather than “into” because Darryl doesn’t have the capability to share and allow others into his thoughts the way many others do. God has given him the unique ability to see the world in a way many of us will never understand, strictly black and white.
I look at him, listen to him talk and realize that he is blessed in ways I am not. He doesn’t have the burdensome task of trying to figure out what the best answer to a question may be, he simply answers with what he thinks, not what he feels someone may want to hear. His honesty is a refreshing change from trying to muddle through the words others speak, if he says something, I know it’s exactly what is on his mind.
He doesn’t dress to please anyone, only himself. How lightened would our daily load be if we could all do this? Imagine being able to wake up each day without wondering what you should wear and what people will think of what you’ve chosen.
Seeing the world in a way others may not understand also brings about challenges. Darryl craves all of the same things any other 16 year old does, he just doesn’t know how to approach and overcome these wants. There are times I look at my amazing step-son and feel my heart break at the loneliness he surrounds himself with. It’s not self induced so much as being born of a need he has no idea how to overcome.
Because people tend to shy away from that which they don’t understand, Darryl tends to be left behind when it comes to something as simple as a “hello” from others. The saddest thing is, he knows he is being excluded, he just doesn’t understand how to include himself, how to reach out to others and make friends. I see the happiness the simple act of inclusion affords him, and I also see the stress being excluded brings.
We are all different and unique in our own ways. It’s time to embrace rather than turn away from what makes someone their own special person.
I thank this wonderfully fascinating 16 year old for opening my eyes to what so many miss, accepting everyone for who they are.