“What’s the opposite of opposite?” my just-turned-seven-year-old asked me last week.
When a kid that age asks their parent a question, and that parent doesn’t answer, but instead beams with pride, what does the kid think? “My parent is crazy?” “When will I learn the answer?” Or…”maybe I just did something very cool?”
More than do something cool, I feel like Dar’s brother just invented a way of understanding his brother. And I love that, because long after Dar’s mom and me are dead, Dar will need a brother who understands him.
I feel that Dar’s brother coined a little bit of a paradox, along the lines of “I always lie” or “If God is all powerful, can He make a rock that He can’t lift?”
It’s probably good for everyone to be comfortable with paradoxes. But I think it’s especially important for making a place for Dar in your heart.
He makes noise regularly, but he doesn’t talk. He expresses what he wants, but he can’t express what he wants. He loves, but he doesn’t ordinarily show love. He is loved, but…not without very serious difficulty. Try loving a child that doesn’t give you any ordinary reasons for pride, that needs you at the age of nine like your baby did when it could barely walk. I’m not saying it’s impossible; I’m saying it comes with a lot of paradoxes.
For the record, the opposite of opposite is “same” or “similar.” But Dar is never the same, he’s always opposite. The opposite of Dar is quite apposite.