Jack and I had a long home-bound wintry snow day. We went to McDonald’s twice (or two times too many), simply to get him out of the house. We can’t go to public places on weekends like regular people because of unpredictable behavior problems. Jack won’t wear winter clothes and go outside to play. It’s cold and wet out, and inside he gets really bored. The end.

I was able to leave for a few hours this weekend to run some errands. As I was out and about doing things and talking to people I kept thinking, “I am acting like a regular person doing regular person things. But wait, it’s a facade.”

I am an outlier.

My days are so weird and so different. Life with Jack’s limitations is so completely beyond the everyday, the normal. This is okay—it’s just life with Jack and I accept it. I regret nothing. It’s good.

The weirdness happens when I engage with people and try to act like my life is a regular life. I find myself thinking, “This is what people talk about when their life is typical. This is what people do and say and buy and focus their energies on when life has normal problems.”

Regular people do regular things. Many regular things are out of our grasp. This makes me feel other.

Jack shredded piles of newsprint and a Cabela’s catalog today, a benign sensory activity that didn’t involve eating (his preferred sensory activity), but that did involve me cleaning up 87,000 little bits of ripped paper.

Tonight I rubbed Jack’s legs and feet while singing him lullabies, because though he is big, he is still inwardly little.

This is not a lament. I do not intend to whine.

It’s only a realization that sometimes I am with people, but I am separate, as though surrounded by a transparent film—an invisible separation.

And yet, I can’t think I’m the only one. 

  3 comments for “Outlier

  1. January 31, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I have been binge-reading your blog! Like you, I birthed 4 boys, but unlike you, none of them were diagnosed with special needs. Of course, they possessed UNdiagnosed needs that I didn’t always recognize or respond to. That means I sometimes look back upon their years under my roof and lament, a worthless activity. I often marvel at you because of so many reasons: Your tenacity, your realism, your writing, your patience, but most of all your unconditional love for your boys. I really believe you when you say, “I love J, but hate the behaviors!” Believe me when I say I have unconditional admiration for MWG.

  2. Jennifer
    January 31, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Sometimes I go to the pharmacy or walk through a mall and I think, “Can anyone here tell by looking at me what I’m really dealing with?” I don’t pretend to have the challenges you have, but I do know what it’s like to feel other than. An outlier. This feeling can either envelop me with overwhelming loneliness. Or it can move me to have massive feelings of love and compassion for whatever is making someone else feel other than. It depends on the day! Today I have tremendous compassion for you and feel like I’m not at all alone in feeling outlierish.

  3. February 1, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Sometimes I feel like an outlier when I think of life with an infant, stuck at home because of all the napping, not going out on dates because of not yet sleeping nights well, and I guess I’m just wimpy about it. My situation will pass in time though.

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