"I think I might be starting to like you."
These are the words my middle son said to me before he left for his father's house for the weekend. To most people these may sound cold, almost cruel. When I first heard them I was actually a bit shocked because I hear it from my other children all of the time. Since he left, I've had time to sit and reflect and I realize just how precious these words are. You see, William has Asperger's Syndrome. Asperger's is a form of high-functioning Autism. William was the victim of a brutal marriage and has paid the price throughout all of the almost-seventeen years of his life. Every little accomplishment of William's was, in my eyes, a major step. After years of struggling to get him an education and facing road-block after road-block, I got tired of dealing with a poor educational system and - after a brief time home-schooling him - I found the school that my children now attend. We moved across the state to be where William would not only learn but where he would thrive. During the battle with our former school I found this poem and it kept me going:
You never know how brave you are,
how much courage you can have,
or how many Everests you can climb,
until you are faced with a fire-breathing dragon...
or a child you love with all your heart,
who needs you to be their hero.
Despite so many advances that he has made in the two years since our move, things haven't settled down and William has been left confused and hurt by the parenting conflicts that are continuously popping up. Despite it all, he rarely stops smiling, loves to hug, talks constantly about his two loves (history and politics) and tells me often that he loves me - after all you can love someone and not like them.
Until the other day when he told me he might be starting to like me.
William is starting to like me.