The short history is that I have always found parenting my son to be, let's say, less-than-straightforward.
Would I use words like challenging, difficult, overwhelming, synonyms-of-all-the-of-the-above?
Why yes. Yes I would. I already have.
I remember vividly a friend of mine turning to me one day - about five or six years ago - and asking me why I am always so negative about my son. Maybe it's not so vivid exactly what she said, but it's very vivid how it made me feel.
I was surprised and I immediately became defensive. She just didn't understand. (No one did.*) Of course I love my son. Of course. At that point, though, I had spent the last few years well beyond the end of my wits; over my head - deep - in doubt-infested waters, never once feeling confident that I knew what the hell was going on.
Sure, doubt is a normal part of parenting. I believe it's a 2-disc set you get, isn't it?: Doubt and Guilt, Greatest Hits.
That's the short history. (There is plenty more in the archives. Trust.)
Obviously, as he has gotten older things have changed. Parent him has become less challenging, less difficult, less overwhelming, less synonyms-of-all-of-the-above. Only slightly so, but definitely definitely less. A good 10 to 12% less, I'd say.
More like 14%.
This person is like no other person I have ever met before. You know, with my daughter, though she is an individual and unique and all that, she definitely has a familiar persona: The Artist Type. This serves as a kind of catch all container for her quirkiness, her compulsive collecting of random objects, her disorganized-ness.
This son of mine though. He is new. And different. He is like me in so many ways. And, of course, unlike me in so many more.
He is blunt- but sensitive as all hell.
He is crazy witty -but misses most of the big picture.
He is wicked sharp -but doesn't get the simple things.
He is all kinds of personality -but he doesn't understand social constructs.
He gets things in a snap -but digs his heels in if he has to work for it.
He cannot keep still (literally) -but has the coordination of a drunk sloth (bless his heart).
He is 100% technical. No buts.
I would wonder if he had Asperger's, but he's so social.
I am told by my good friend with reliable first hand knowledge that his is a valid, though uncommon, personality type.
I don't know anyone like him. I haven't had any science-y friends before.
Knowing this; that how he is - is. It's really a relief to know that He Is Not Alone (echo echo echo).
Knowing this this changes the way that I navigate with him and even the way I understand my self as his mother. Knowing this adds another dimension to the awe and wonder I have as I watch him grow.
Different different - same same.
* They really didn't. People often explained it away as a boy thing. They had no idea.