My best friend from high school called me a few weeks ago. I am the person she calls on her long commute home. She is a teacher, so I never hear from her in the summer. I am not sure if I should be offended by that, but whatever. We keep in touch most of the year, so that's nice. She knows all about our ongoing struggles with my son Shay's pervasive developmental disorder. This is the gist of our conversation.
Friend: Hey Jess! I was watching Big Bang Theory and it hit me..Sheldon is Shay!
Me: Hmmm. Wow. Well, I guess I see it...
The thing was, I wasn't sure what to think. While it has never been addressed on the show, Sheldon has many of the characteristics people with Asperger's Syndrome sometimes exhibit. He is also a genius. So there I was, on one hand flattered because MY SON IS LIKE THAT AND HE WILL BE A GENIUS AND WILL MAKE LOTS OF MONEY DOING PHYSICS TYPE STUFF MAYBE! Hurrah!
On the other hand, my son might be a 30 year old bachelor living with another 30 year old bachelor, wearing undersized Spiderman tees, and lacking the ability to have a real emotional relationship with anyone. That part made me sad. Because I do get sad when i think about my child never knowing love, other than the love he has for me, or for my husband. It is heartbreaking to think of him all alone in this world. I think back to the day of his first IEP meeting at school. His teacher told all of us he sat alone at lunch and that he seemed quite happy to do so. I cried for two days afterwards.
It's hard to imagine a life for your child that does not include all the things you want for them. I have to tell myself that it's ok for Shay to have relationships different from mine. Or that perhaps one day he will have real true friendships and maybe even real love. A family even. I can't, and won't bank on it, but I will bank on the fact that my kid will have a full life, even if it's just a little bit different from the one I dreamed of.