April 29: I couldn’t do this without my husband

7 years ago I married my husband. He is my best friend, my soul mate, and as he proclaimed earlier today, my “co-conspirator.” 

His son was six at the time, we met when he was three. 

That was the year he struggled the most. He was in kindergarten for the second time and experiencing severe emotional episodes. He was not diagnosed with anything yet and was just starting medication two days before our wedding. That was a rough year for his mother. She had to leave work every single day to pick him up and eventually lost her job. It was before he had an IEP and before we knew anything about “Game of CST’s.” I understand better than anyone now why she chose to try medication. 

Something that comes with medication is often trial and error. 

I’ll painfully admit, whatever medication he started that week was an error.

Rob took him home to his mother the night before our wedding because he was afraid he couldn’t handle it. He had that feeling. And so he missed our wedding, which I regret to this day, that we didn’t try harder to make it work. 

We paid a babysitter that day who never even met him. 

People told me that I did not have to go through with the wedding. That I wasn’t a bad person if I changed my mind. That this was a lot to take on.

It was like the opposite of what marriage is, telling someone to bail because this might get hard. 

Or this is hard. 

If you go into a marriage thinking things will never be hard or inconvenient, you should reconsider getting married at all. 

This was also the first time that I can remember people making that assumption that this could never happen to me. 

That I am choosing this wrong path. 

This is all his fault. His genetics. His problem. Don’t you want normal kids?

It’s a laughable mentality now, and an elite one. Because it can happen to anyone. 

It has happened to other members of my own family since then. 

And it happened to me. 

The most ironic part about autism is how people try to blame someone for it. They blame food, prescriptions, genetics, air quality, and modern medicine. Recent international studies even blame maternal microbiome for it. But it just doesn’t matter.  

What nobody seems to understand is that it just happens. There is no prevention. No being careful. Nothing. 

We don’t choose this. We don’t cause it. 

I am not special because it happened to me. And it could happen to you too. 

What if I married someone else who couldn’t handle it? 

Seeing my husband be a father to a challenging child showed me that he could handle anything. It inspired me to be a better person. 

It also taught me a lot about balance in a relationship and as a mother. 

When Robbie was young, he pushed his father’s buttons until he exploded like a stack of dynamite. 

And I was the calm one back then. 

With our daughter, our roles have reversed. 

I explode and he stays calm. 

Maybe it’s just that Kindergarten age range. And sometimes we both stay calm but rarely do we both explode. 

He works late until he can no longer stand and I have maternal breakdowns at home.

He does the outside chores and I do the inside ones.

Sometimes I wish he knew how to cook and sometimes he wishes I knew how to mow the lawn (which is never happening).

Not for a single moment did I ever second guess marrying him, or this life. 

No matter how hard it has been or how hard it is or could get. I couldn’t do this with anyone else nor would I want to. 

April 29, 2012
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