ROBERT ONION

More and more I realize all of the nuances about my son that I don’t know. While I feel like I know him well on the one hand, the fact of the matter is that I only know what I perceive I know. It sounds mysterious when presented as such but the truth is that so much of him is just that, a mystery.

Since he was little we accepted his smile as an affirmation of approval or delight, and then gone with those acceptances. We’ve assumed his preferences by this scale since he was tiny. He’s always been adamant with his dislikes and no’s. He learned to say the word NO early on. It’s a simple word that he became very consistent with, although frequently his choice of expressing displeasure or dislike is the glorious whine. It’s the most effective and garners the most immediate reaction because “no one likes a whiner”.

Though lately I’ve been wondering if our interpretations are often too general. Because he whines in a store, we generally leave. Because he whines at a song, we switch to a different song. But are we interpreting the whine correctly? I’d say half the time we are probably correct. We do know him fairly well but other times like when he’s antsy at an event or waiting around or in an unfamiliar setting, the factors that are causing his behavior are so vast, and our solution is to often remove him from it when perhaps it’s just that he’s cold, or next to something that smells bad, or needs a jacket, or wants to move closer to the cute dog or girl, or just wants us to pay attention to him for a minute. But how do you know?

The layers of his personality seem so untouchable. I feel like we only touch the surface of what he things, feels, and wants. We manage his immediate and primary needs. We try our hardest to understand the depths of his being but at the end of the day, he’s an enigma.

It’s a strange understanding to love someone and to be fully devoted to making his every moment rich and fulfilled and to know that you may not ever be entirely successful in doing so, no matter how hard you try. It makes me wonder how much of his acceptance of things, and his willingness to go along with choices we make on his behalf is him showing us the same love and devotion and his understanding that sometimes we just don’t get it. We don’t always get him.

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