One night at dinner, Conor suddenly and inexplicably began weeping, big bloppy tears coursing down his reddening face. Aidan (his typical brother), my husband and I all looked at each other quizzically.
"What's wrong, Conor?" I asked, alarmed. "Does your stomach hurt?" (Like many on the spectrum, my son struggles with gastrointestinal issues. Thankfully, it's mostly under control.)
"No," he wept piteously, swiping at the tears with the back of his hand.
"Do you think you might throw up?" I continued to press him. He almost always tells us if he does feel sick.
"No," he sobbed again. He crossed his arms and sort of hugged himself, rocking imperceptibly.
"Is something wrong? What's wrong? Are you nervous about vacation?" Tell me, I pleaded silently. Please, just be able to tell me.
"I don't know," he wailed, raising his face toward the ceiling as he swiped again at his red eyes.
"I'm sad because I want Gabby Schmutz to come on a train ride on vacation on August 6th," he wept, looking directly at me. My God, his eye contact is good when he wants it to be.
Yet I do know that this is not the reason for his tears. He doesn't know Gabby Schmutz and when he mentions this name we know he is anxious about something. I suspect our upcoming vacation but, then again, I really don't know. He can't tell me. He is unable to identify his feelings, any feelings except happy and sad, really.
I hate that, you know. The not knowing.