We’ve been blessed with some extended family time over the last few weeks. Much of our family lives hours away, so it is a great treat to sit and visit with one another, but extended visits also lend themselves to many explanations as to why things are a certain way or what Ben is saying or even why.
This got me thinking, as it seems some days I’m explaining our lives in the most minute details. Google defines an explanation as
1. A statement or account that makes something clear.
2. A reason or justification given for an action or belief.
That pretty much sums it up. We’re trying to help others understand Ben and why he says or does or is any certain thing or way. If we don’t explain the situation, who will? If we can’t build awareness, will anyone understand our amazing son? Once people get to know him and understand the reasoning behind some of his quirkiness, they are absolutely drawn to him and smile and his giggle – mercy, that giggle!
But here’s the thing: No matter how hard we try to explain or describe, other folks just can’t possibly get it the way we do, or the way Ben’s siblings do. Our closest of friends come close, but even still, our trusted list of those to call on when we need to get away or to be with one of our other kids is really quite short. Not because we don’t trust people, but because most people, try as they may, just don’t get it.
I saw this last week and it truly was another ah-ha moment because it perfectly encapsulates this very thought in my mind… “For people who have been there, no explanation is necessary; for people who have not, no explanation is possible.”
This was reiterated to me this evening as we gathered around our dinner table with two extra seats tonight. Friends from years past were in the area and asked if they could “stop in and visit”. Sure!!! That is, if you don’t mind that 2/7 of our family was an hour away at a baseball tournament most of the afternoon, 2/7 of our family was at a car wash for St. Jude most of the afternoon, and the other 3/7, well, let’s just say I wasn’t so sure what shape the house would be in when we got there, but I knew it would be standing and I knew our friends would understand. See, our friends also have a special needs son. The Spectrum Scene isn’t their home. They walk another path, just as foreign to us as the spectrum is to them, but they know special needs. They know living in the unknown. They know a house full of laughter and how even when it’s so loud it hurts, it’s such a very good hurt. We didn’t have to explain a single thing to them. It just wasn’t necessary. And what a blessing that was to just sit and enjoy our dinner, our family, and friends we haven’t seen in way too many years.