My Parents Were Awesome - Part I
I see lots of posts on tumblr from angsty teens and angsty people who are older than teens about how awful their parents are. Well, I can’t relate to any of that, because my parents were awesome in every imaginable way, and we need some balance. So here we go. Buy the ticket, take the ride.
When I was a kid, there wasn’t any Asperger’s Syndrome or ADHD, or any of the hot mess of spectrum behaviour disorders that could explain the awesome that was me. So I was just “weird”. All the subjective stuff you are about to read applies to me personally and should not be interpreted as a statement of general policy.
It was obvious to everyone right from the start that there was something, for want of a better term, “very wrong” with me. As a newborn baby, I never cried and I slept through the night without waking. My mother took me to the doctor, but he more or less laughed in her face.
I was reading newspapers with some comprehension at the age of two (although my father swears I used to read them upside down), but I didn’t speak in complete sentences until I was six. I did not play well with others. When eventually I made it to school, I was pushed around a lot. None of the bullying left me with any self-esteem issues at all. It was just something I had to go through; a part of the cost of being me.
Very recently, I have learned of frantic behind-the-scenes efforts to deal with me, to make me more normal. Despite heavy pressure from everyone and everything, my parents took a decision that they did not want to make me more normal. They seemed to have an almost supernatural understanding of what was required of them, when all the books and the common wisdom was sending them in the other direction. A psychologist was offered and refused. Instead my father got me a dog. Nowadays, it’s part of recommended “treatment” for Asperger’s Syndrome to get the kid some sort of animal, because he’ll probably find it easier to relate to than all the humans and their endless fucking unspoken social protocol bullshit, and that’s more or less what happened to me.
My Parents - 1 Common Wisdom - 0
When I was being bullied, they met with teachers and discussed options. I was coming home with bruises every night, which might drive normal parents to distraction, or blood-dimm’d rage. My parents adopted a more sanguine attitude, and reasoned that any efforts to stop bullying in the school may be adversely reflected in redoubled extra-curricular efforts to break my face. In retrospect, I think they were correct. I was stubbornly me, and there was nothing to be done about it, and maybe there wasn’t anything that should be done about it.
My Parents - 2 Common Wisdom - 0
My parents never hit me. They never even raised their voices to me. I can’t remember a single instance of either of them shouting at me, for any reason (unless I was far away and it was dinner time). I couldn’t understand, for years, that other parents used to hit their kids and shout at them and so on. I still don’t get it. I assumed the kids were lying, or exaggerating for effect. But they weren’t. In the mid-70s, it was assumed that smacking a kid around didn’t do him any harm.
My Parents - 3 Common Wisdom - 0
to be continued…