It's good to have friends. I've never really thought of myself as being all that likeable or as having many friends, and compared to some people maybe I haven't. After spending some time on Facebook, however, I've found that more people touched my life than I realized and have remembered me more kindly than I had any right to expect.
For a long time, I came across as distant and maybe aloof (maybe I still do). At least that was always my perception of myself. Truth was, I was painfully shy and afraid to let people in to get to know me, afraid they wouldn't like what they saw because I didn't like what I saw. Because of that, I always tended to keep people at arms' length.
I think of the people who passed in and out of my life during those years and wish I had been able to break down the walls to let them in. Thankfully, I have been able to reconnect with some of those same people on Facebook. In the case of a select few, I have even managed to go beyond the typical superficialities that often come with posting on Facebook.
From these select few, I have received kindness, encouragement, understanding, and, as needed, a swift kick in the pants. They have also caused me to think about what might have been in my own life and to wonder a little about what might yet be in the life of my son.
My son is in some ways a lot like me in that he is hard to get to know beneath the surface, hard to pin down. In my case, that slipperiness served as one of my defenses. For my son, it may also do the same. However, it may also be a by-product of the fact that he is autistic.
My son can be both endearing and exasperating at the same time. He will hug the dickens out of you one moment and the next invite you to leave the room so he can be alone. Although he mentions the names of others he goes to school with, I don't know that he has many friends. He's never really had other children come over and never really asked to.
He and I are different in many ways but very similar in terms of our difficulties in connecting with other people. Because of that, we are not perhaps as close as we should be. On the other hand, he and I are closer than my father and I were.
Earlier today, I did some thinking about the emotional similarities between me and my son. I was inspired to write the following lines which are not quite about him and not quite about me, yet they are in many ways about the two of us.
Between The Lines
Cold - no feeling showed there in his eyes
He kept his true self in disguise
Still -there was a kindness in his smile
It was hard to reconcile
In the light of day
In his world, he was protected
His true feelings unsuspected
There inside his shell
Hidden all too well
He - wasn't like all of the others
It would take more to discover
What was in his heart
Fate - had given him a kinder soul
But had made him not quite whole
A missing part
That could never quite explain
What went on there in his brain
What was in his head
Never quite got said
He wasn't quite what others hoped he'd be
Not quite a product of his time
Nobody saw quite what he hoped they'd see
They never learned to read between the lines