Saturday, April 19, 2008

Grandma, What Big Eyes You Have

My nephew, Little B, is my mom's oldest grandchild. I think he's eight, but my mom launched his presidential campaign several years back, and calls me regularly to describe his genius in great detail.

I imagine my mom probably gushes about my kids to the rest of the family too, but Little B, her first grandchild, definitely hung the moon over my mom's house, and I get a full report on everything he ate, said, did, and played with, from every visit or phone call she's ever had with him. I am not complaining! I like this. It's cute. Her grandmotherly pride makes me smile. It has served to help me better appreciate my mother's maternalism, as I can assure you she did not behave this way over her own kids. I also don't think there is any favoritism about it. My mom adores the rooster and Peaches, too. They aren't as old as Little B, and they live far from her, so they don't give her as many bragging rights yet, but she dotes lovingly on all of her small brood.

I don't see much of Little B, though I love him and love getting the updates. My brother (his dad) and I don't speak, for a trillion great reasons, and his family lives on the opposite side of the country from mine.

So my mother calls me the other day to let me know she revealed the rooster's diagnosis to Little B's mom. And I bet you guessed what... for my mom, it was an enormous shock that Little B might turn out to have some form of a diagnosis of his own. Of course, his history is not just like the rooster's, but he hasn't sailed through his development on the crystal blue waters my mom had imagined.

Hmmmmm. I was thoroughly unsurprised, on some level, along with my mixed emotions.

First, I am sad about it. I love my nephew, whether or not we have turkey dinners together, and I always will. I wish him all smooth sailing through childhood, and to know that he has had struggles akin to our own depresses me. It isn't right that so many kids face such great challenges. Childhood in today's times is just a wreck of a thing, isn't it?

But also, no matter the diagnosis or label or whatever, Little B is a smart and funny kid with hobbies and passions who wins trophies in martial arts and stuff. So, if Little B can do it, that is another hopeful reminder to me that in another five years or so, maybe the rooster will be in calmer waters as well.

And then there is the whole genetic thing again. I'll repeat my mantra -- I have no way of knowing why the rooster is who/how he is, but he's always been roostery. And Little B? I think he's always been Little B. And they are bound by blood...

For my mom, old school in so many ways, it was kind of an aha; "I told you that the world has gone crazy trying to find every little thing wrong with everybody -- you watch, they'll grow up to be Einsteins." Mom has lent one hundred percent -- no, even more than that -- of her support to us, but you can tell on some level she thinks of autism as some kind of New Age Hocus Pokus Gobbledygook.

Then there is the question in my mind about the "secrecy" about Little B. Was it secrecy? If so, why? And how do I feel about that? And how does the rest of my family feel with me being so "out there" about the rooster? And how will the rooster feel about it? About this blog?

These are all just questions, no answers in the bunch. So what else is new?

All I know is that Little B and the rooster might someday share a ticket, and that my mom will be more than happy to do their press.

1 comment:

Joeymom said...

Wow, I have a brother I don't speak with, either. He doesn't have any kids. He's never met mine. I'm often sad, thinking how much of life he is missing by not knowing his own nephews.

The funny thing about Joey's diagnosis is when we first had it, I felt wildly alone, because nobody I knew had this, I had no frame of reference at all. Then suddenly, people in my life with autism came out of the frickin' woodwork. People I had known all my life. ("Oh, yeah, I've got Asperger's/Autism/oh, my mom said I had those problems when I was little. I never told you that?" No, you didn't, but it sure explains everything about you...) Adult people. Friends' kids. Neighbors. It was the strangest thing- like this strange little secret nobody wanted you to know, unless you were part of the club, too. WTF?

But really, it was more of just being part of their lives, they didn't think about it anymore, just like I don't really think of Joey as being disabled, he's just Joey. There was no reason for it to come up. I recently surprised a friend of mine with Joey's diagnosis- oops, it just never came up, and we don't live close together. Now her kid is having trouble, and she was shocked when I said, "hey you should have that checked out, Joey did that." "What do you mean?" "Well, he might have sensory integration issues, or he could be autistic, like Joey." "Joey's autistic???"

As "out there" as I am with Joey, I thought the world knew by now.

So hugs to Grandma on her road to understanding. At least she loves them just the way they are.