Buddy is one of those young adults that you aren’t quite sure what he’s going to “grow up” to be.

At almost 19 years old, he both amazes and frustrates me at the same time.  I see him compared to other kids his age and can honestly say, “Yes, this child is different than the others”.  That’s not a bad thing, just an observation.

He doesn’t act like the others.  He doesn’t care about fitting in.  He doesn’t worry about social conventions.  He wants to be him and only him.  Don’t ask him to act like someone else because that’s not who he is.  He is the poster boy for “live and let live”.  He doesn’t care what you do, as long as you don’t care what he’s doing.

Sometimes this is frustrating when trying to get him to follow “social conventions”.  Because he doesn’t care about fitting in, showers and basic hygiene can be spotty at best.  Because he doesn’t care about social conventions, he thinks nothing about blurting out what he’s thinking, even if it is completely inappropriate.

Trying to figure out how his mind works has been a life-long task of mine.  Not because I want to change him, but because I want him to be able to understand the world around him better.  I want to also understand him better.  His mind works completely different than others.

Years ago, I taught him that it was completely acceptable to answer “I don’t know the answer to that” to questions he didn’t know how to answer.  That was, and is, okay when dealing with fact based questions.  Now that he’s older, answering the question of “why?” with “I don’t know” isn’t always acceptable when the questions are abstract rather than fact based.  At almost 19, think I finally figured out how to help him with this and we’re still working through the new learning curve.  I’ll report back if it is successful.

But there are times when Buddy doesn’t act like the others that it is absolutely amazing!

His mind is a deep chasm, waiting to be filled with all sorts of knowledge.  He doesn’t care what your opinion of the subject is, if you don’t know the answers to his questions or not, he just wants to know what you know about the subject matter at hand.

And those subject matters at hand can be very deep, philosophical and abstract in ways I would never have imagined when he was first born.  Whenever he says, “Mom, I have a question…..” there is no telling where the next part of the sentence will land.

The best time for us to talk is when I’m driving and it is just the two of us in the vehicle.  He’ll ask questions with others in the car, but he’s learned that they don’t always like his subjects of interests; which is fine by him, because he could usually care less about their areas of interest as well.

Case in point – whenever I drove him down to the driving test, an hour away, the subject matters for that particular car ride were:

Interest-bearing accounts, mathematical engineering and space travel.

Ummmm…..I don’t even know where to begin answering these questions, let alone have what I feel like is a rational conversation about these subjects!  But he accepts my fumbling answers with a grace and humility that I can only hope to emulate someday.

Just this past weekend, the subject matter in question was, “What was my opinion on the aftermath of nuclear war?”

When it is just the two of us, it is guaranteed to never be a dull ride!

Asking him to clarify his question led nowhere as his mind is so different from mine, he doesn’t know how to explain what he’s asking.  He just knows he’s interested in my opinion on this subject.

So…..I answered his question with an abbreviated science and history lesson instead, starting with evolution and the Stone Age.  At first, he began to stop me, but quickly realized that my way of explaining things for him to understand shows how intricately the past and history helps us to understand the present and future.

Then and only then, after explaining the past and history, did I explain to him what my answer/opinion of his question was.

He knows that I won’t laugh at his questions.  He knows that I won’t make fun of his mind.  He knows that I will do my best to help him and his quirky ways.  And he knows I will answer as honestly as I can.

I hope he knows he can always come to me with any question and I will always try my best to help him.

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