Aspies, God love them, are not a typically social bunch. Either they have no clue on how to read people or are just so goofy that people don’t bother to get to know them. My son is the latter. Even with constant relatively positive reinforcement on how to get along with others, he struggles. A lot. Very much. Hooo lally he struggles. More likely it’s me whose struggling but you understand what I mean. Yesterday, we saw progress ! Yesterday we saw a piece of his future fall in to place.
My husband is a huge believer in giving the kids some opportunity for maturity. We both believe in it, he’s just better at providing opportunity. I’m a bit chicken and a poor judge of what would be appropriate. I’m more of a “keep ’em young” kind of parent. I figure they’ll have to grow up soon enough. After hearing what some of the boys in my daughter’s school have said to her, I would strongly suggest that other parents adopt this philosophy. So I encourage somewhat younger pursuits for now which does not help on the maturity thing but keeps me sane. I digress.
With the heat firmly upon us in Southern Ontario and a local outdoor pool close by, my husband took the kids on a bike ride to the pool. And left them there. On their own. My babies. My boy and his Aspergers. My girl and her chicken little personality. At the pool. On their own. Oy. This was something I placed solely on the husbands shoulders. He was going to be in serious trouble if this did not go well. I do not know where my daughter gets that sky is falling mentality ? Must be the same part of the family tree that causes my son to be too hard on himself to which I have no relation whatsoever. But I digress again.
So the husband and I are at home keeping busy while my babies, my flesh and blood, my co-inhabitors of my very being for nine months are at the pool. I worry if he is behaving appropriately. I worry if she is being bullied (there is history to this worry). I worry if they get hit by a car on the way there or back. I worry if… I just worry. So a couple of hours pass and there have been no phone calls. The husband decides to make his way back to the pool to pick up said kids. Now there is a phone call. They are having too much fun and would I mind if they stayed ? The sky has stayed firmly up above in the big blue where it belongs much to my relief.
Not only are they having a great time, have made new friends and are all hanging out just fine – my boy is checking out the girls ! And they are apparently checking him right back with one girl advising Vanessa that Thomas is cute ! My boy. My red-haired, green-eyed, freckly, gangly boy is mackin’ on the girls. Yes! He is working his groove thang, trying to impress, engaging in chit-chat, etc. Yes ! His sister is giving him tips, telling him to be himself, to relax, etc. and he is listening. Yes ! There is a god and he is watching out for my boy.
See how my worries changed ? It went from please keep them safe and bring them home in one piece and don’t let any perverts go after them in the change room to please let my boy score on some level with these young ladies. And he did. Not to any huge degree but the fact that they were even willing to entertain the thought of his masculinity was magical. The fact that he is maturing enough to notice the girls and want to impress them is amazing. The fact that he has been listening all this time to social advice and putting it to good use is fantastic. The fact that this demonstrates that the opposite sex find him attractive in any capacity and that his Aspie status didn’t get in the way is outstanding. In a field. With my boy. And possibly a girl.
Now while I don’t condone typical boorish boy behaviour, I have to admit I was kind of happy. I was secretly ecstatic inside as I gave him a little “were you respectful” talk / reminder. Yes, yes he assured me. His father couldn’t stop smiling. I never realized that this would worry him too. I don’t know what it wouldn’t occur to me but it didn’t. My husband is a wonderful man now but he was a bit of an opportunistic dog before we met. Just the fact that he is a man should have been a tip-off that this might be important to him. But the smile said more. The smile said he was proud of his boy and saw that Thomas will not end up alone like we had feared.
My boy is mackin’ on the girls. This is a huge step towards developing more social skills, becoming a man and hopefully building a future that involves him moving out of the house. Most parents of 13-year-old boys take this for granted. They don’t think to provide opportunity for this to happen. They just figure he’ll find his way. With an Aspie boy, this is not the case. At all. By my husband providing this opportunity for our boy he also provided an opportunity for us. An opportunity to glimpse in to Thomas’ future and see what we had feared would never be. Maybe my son isn’t the only one making progress.