Just like high school, sometimes you pay the price for being a follower or a crowd pleaser. My fear of high school name calling lead me to lie awake most of the night with a headache that had me Googling, "symptoms of aneurysm" at 4AM. As I lie in bed wondering who was sober enough to drive me to the hospital and who would actually believe me that this time, the hypochondriac really was in peril and on the verge of dying...again, I took a moment out of my near hysteria and lie in bed smiling at the memories of the night before. More fabulous, hysterical, laughing until you pee yourself (we are all over 40) memories, to add to the collective memories of the past 30 years. With a contented smile on my face and the glimmer of hope that perhaps the headache stemmed from the red wine (very, very, good red wine) and not an aneurysm, I decided that if I was going to go (again), that going while surrounded by my lifelong girlfriends in a beautiful home overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, wasn't a bad way to go. Being the sick, twisted friends that we are, I knew that come morning, my girlfriends would have been initially horrified had they found me "gone", but after they recovered, I felt quite certain I would have donned a hat and sunglasses and been dragged to the bar later and propped up in the corner a la "Weekend at Bernie's" style.
As Mrs. P filled me in, I gathered all my strength to hold back my own flood of tears. My boy feeling lonely made me feel incredibly helpless. If Ryan were hungry, I would get him a Jello Pudding. If Ryan were cold, I would fetch his Mario blanket. If Ryan were sad, I would console him with a "squeezy tight". I didn't know how to make Ryan feel less lonely in school. How to make him have friends. Mrs. P and I discussed how hard it is to decipher if the tears were a result of Ryan really feeling lonely or if the idea of the word lonely caused his tears. Maybe Ryan wants friends, but since understanding friendships and the social nuances and conversation that goes along with having friends, makes being alone much easier. I told Mrs. P, I would try and get something out of Ryan at home, which I knew would be almost as easy as asking him to remove a wasp's nest from the back porch for me.
And even though, my mantra for the past several years has been, "What makes me happy, doesn't necessarily make Ryan happy." (repeat 10,000 times), sometimes I forget, especially when my happiness comes in the form of friendships that make me feel complete. I mean, how can Ryan miss something he has never really had? After so many years of battling Clueless and Denial and opting instead to hang and chill with Acceptance, I have to be AWEnest when I say, it still makes me sad that Ryan was not given the friend "chip". I recognize that there are so many other things in Ryan's life that make him happy and feel fulfilled and I truly love his extraordinary AWEsomeness, but, this difference, although something I can accept, is just something I will never fully understand, and that's ok. Just as incomprehensible as it is for me to not possess the friend "chip", Ryan is equally baffled by me missing the music "chip". I swear if my girlfriends don't tie a rock to my ankle and toss me over a boat one day, Ryan may snap when he no longer can stand to hear me sing one more Adele song out of tune. One thing's for sure, if that happens chances are good Ryan will get away with it. Unless there is a WiiU on the boat with Pikmin 3, I'm betting Ryan will be alone, so there will be no witnesses and no one to blackmail him later. Something to be said for standing on your own and not following the crowd.