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Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Butterfly

We were at the beach last week.  My wife and I were standing ankle deep in the water watching Eric having a ball swimming and jumping over the waves.  A group of three other kids ran up and started playing, splashing and chasing each other in the water.  Eric gave them a passing glance and went about his business. 

I saw it happen, as I've seen it happen countless times in the past.  She has gotten skilled at crying behind her sunglasses so others can't obviously see her pain.  But I saw it.  I have learned that there are times when there is nothing I can say or do.  I just have the let the moment happen and dissipate naturally.  That's what I did.  It took a few minutes, then the moment lifted and we went back to our quiet family swim in the ocean. 

I think these moments are easier for me than for her because I am not a social butterfly.  She is.  Her greatest pleasures in life have come from gatherings with friends and social experiences with family.  My greatest pleasures have come from quiet solitude and peaceful reflection by myself or with my wife.  She sees my son's lack of interest in his peers as him missing out on pleasure.  I understand how she can see it that way.  But I see it as simply taking my own introversion a step further.  I want her to know that while he obviously needs to learn social skills and to be nudged out of his comfort zone into interacting with his peers,  he is not necessarily deprived of pleasure from his lack of interest in these relationships. 

I often joke that I could do a ten year prison sentence with ease.  I would be just fine stranded on a desert island for a while.  For me, social interactions are work.  It's different for her.  Her love for her son is one of God's wonders.  I want her to understand that he will be O.K.  I want her to trust that smile on his face when he is doing his own thing and not to feel sorry for him because he isn't interested in chasing and throwing sand at his cousins.  I want her to understand that, in so many ways, he is me... and look at the happiness I have found... with her. 


  1. My son started pre k today and when I went to pick him up I found him in his special ed room eating lunch and not in the cafeteria. Happy as a lark and in a fantastic mood but I felt sad. I remembered reading this post when you posted it and it popped into my head on the way home. I knew I had to come home and reread this post. I was feeling sad because I felt like he was missing out. Thank you for this post and this perspective. It was greatly needed today.

  2. Jerry - first time visitor here. If all of your content is as poignant and raw as this is - I will be back. Wonderfully introspective and flawlessly written.