My nephew has come to visit for a few days this week. I love him to pieces as he’s always been around and to some extent I think he thinks of me as his second mom. I know he confides in me and always has, mores than with his parents. My brother would ask me how I knew things and it’s because he would talk to me. Maybe it’s because he knows I won’t judge him and he can get an honest answer from me. I listen to him and look at him while he’s talking so that he knows I’m listening.
My nephew has high functioning autism and he is so handsome. He’s 17 now and just watching him grow has been an amazing journey. He didn’t talk until he was almost 4 years old but my mother and he had a strong bond. I think she loved him as much as any grandmother could love a child and possibly more. He was about 3 1/2 when she passed and so it was after that when he started to talk.
Maybe I took on the role of grandmother with him but just with a different name. He doesn’t call me Aunt, he just calls me by my name but there is always a hug or a kiss to go with it. When he was younger, we would ride in my truck and he loved when he was old enough to ride in it without a car seat. But this was time to talk and he would often ask me about angels. He would ask where they come from and if I saw them too. He told me that his grandmother was an angel and so we talked about it. All the while, what he said was actually calming to me instead of me calming him.
A few days after this particular conversation, my brother asked me about angels and what did that mean. I told him that we had talked while driving and what it was about. He couldn’t believe that his son was confiding in me about something he’s never said to him before. It became normal at that point for my brother and his then wife to ask me if their son had talked about anything that was bothering him. We’re close, even to this day as he towers above me and has thinned out and grown facial hair. He’s a dear love to me and always will be.
People sometimes do not realize that he has autism but instead jump to the conclusion that he is just an annoying teenager. Some don’t stay around long enough to realize that this is who he is and it’s truly beautiful. His words are honest words that you don’t get from anyone else in todays world. Sometimes he does tend to stay on just one subject and that subject can last a really long time. Maybe it just feels like a long time because I know nothing about comics and the characters in them, but I still enjoy hearing what he has to say.
It’s been a rough rode for him in school and since his parents divorce. His parents, my brother and ex-wife, do not talk to each other. In my eyes they are younger than he is because any grown adult would know that taking care of your child takes working together no matter how you feel about the other parent. These two idiots just can’t seem to get past themselves long enough to help him. However, he did say that he had to go to therapy first before coming over last night so maybe they took my words from six months ago and actually followed up on them. My nephew had told me that he wanted to go back to therapy but neither one of them would take the step. So I’m going to ask him today about it and see where that takes us. I want to make sure he’s getting what he needs.
I’m hoping that this is a good summer and that I get to have him more than during the school year. I miss him since they’ve gotten divorced. They’ve got their own lives but he’s shuffled between the two and I never know who has him. But now that he doesn’t have school (virtual summer school) I don’t have to worry about him being home to go to class. I have high hopes for this summer.