You can’t be liked by everybody. It’s a fact of life. Some people don’t care if they are liked by everybody. Some people spend every waking moment trying to figure out why someone doesn’t like them. Some, like me, are in the middle somewhere just trying to make it through life without too much damage.
I think, however, that it is considerably more difficult if you or someone you love suffers from eccentricities or disorders that can render you odd, quirkie, or disagreeable. Such is the fate of Aspergers and Autism spectrum disorders.
Sometimes the fact that my boys have difficulty socially is more than I can bear. Parties happen all the time between classmates, and Roo and Buzzard are never included. It has to be one of the most painful things in my life to watch, knocking the air and happiness out of me as if I had fallen twenty feet and landed flat on my back. I recognize the many reasons for this; they fight between themselves too much, they talk inacessantly, and they are a little quirky. But they also have good qualities, and I wish desperately that other kids their age could see their kindness, humor and compassion.
Sometimes I wonder if this means I have done a crappy job parenting. I’m sooo tired of fighting this monster, and feeling like I’m constantly trying to make it up a slippery slope. I feel like it has become a litany of what’s wrong with them, rather than what’s wrong with those who can’t accept them. Don’t we all have annoying habits, traits and behaviors? Don’t we all find ourselves needing to apologize for the dumb things we’ve done or said? Can’t there be a little more acceptance in the world? Why am I trying to teach my children to accept everybody else, when no one will accept them?
The answer is simple, and oddly egocentric in a way. What matters in this world is how WE behave. At the end of the day, the accounting we have to make is of our own life and how we lived it, not how someone else lived their life, and how that affected us. The trick is to not let how others live their lives change us for the worse by making us cynical and mean.
I think this requires a certain amount of fortitude, a strong ability to feign deafness, and of course, the occasional glass of wine. I feel better already.