Eli and I were playing chess today and when I beat him he broke down and cried. I tried to comfort him when something totally unexpected happened. He told me that he was a loser, that he was not special and couldn’t do anything right. This broke my heart and I tried hard to convince him that he was in fact special and was brilliant in so many ways. Nothing seemed to help.
During the conversation he told me he was weird, he had weird thoughts, acted weird and felt he was different. My shock must have been apparent because he told me that he knows he is different and knows that I know it. I realized that at this very moment Eli was finally reaching out to me to ask me why but I sat there shocked. Eli is weird, as compared to non-spectrum children but he is a fantastic boy with a lot fo amazing qualities. I told him that he was perfect, and that I wouldn’t want him any other way. I pointed out how smart he was, how amazing he is at using computers, how he swims and plays baseball and is such a great big brother. None of that mattered. It is time to tell him about Aspergers, it is time for him to see a professional therapist who can help him understand his disorder and make him feel confident.
Today, I am a failure. For all the help I provide parents who write me, for all the phone calls and letters. I have always been able to help them out or at least try. Today, I realized I didn’t know what to tell my own son. Yes Eli you are weird, you are out there and I love every moment of it. You have Aspergers Syndrome, which means you will face this for the rest of your life. You will face social challenges for the rest of your life. How do you tell a seven year old that? I am lost, I am lost because he needs to know. I need to know what to say.
I love being a dad, but today I hate it.