Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day: To My Husband.

Fickle Feline: Hey babe - are we exchanging cards tomorrow?
Husband: Um, do you want to exchange cards?
Fickle Feline: Nah, I know you love me. I don't need a card for that.
Husband: Cool, I'm really busy today. Do you need/want me to get you that soap you like from Lush?
Fickle Feline: No, I'm good. That soap costs 1/3 of an hour of Max therapy. I don't need it that bad.
Husband: Alright - see you tonight.

Autism isn't romantic. It is, in fact, the exact opposite. When I look back at this picture of Scott and me on our wedding day, I think, wow, we thought we had already been through a lot of stress together, weathered many storms, walked through the fire...but really, we had no idea what tough times were, or what was headed our way. Having a child with a disability can tear a couple apart. The stress, it would make Barack Obama lose his cool. The sadness, would make a statue cry. The majority of couples with Autistic children don't make it, the stress is too much. But I know that Scott and I will be okay. We will get through this together, because we are best friends.

I'm not saying it has been easy. I'm not saying I haven't done my share of complaining. We fight, we snap, we grumble, we forgive. There are days where I think I can't take anymore. When Scott gets home from work, he sees it, and after he gives Max a bath and puts him to bed, he takes Cameron for an hour so I can relax, chill out, do whatever. I know that he is tired too, that he has worked all day, and I appreciate that he understands that I live for this hour "off".
Our life, it isn't glamorous. Most nights we don't get to sleep in the same bed - one child or another has one of us up, be it Cameron teething, or Max having an episode. We aren't able to take Max out many places, and our babysitting resources are limited. Our definition of a "date night" has changed since our days of living carefree in downtown Toronto. Watching a DVD together on a Saturday night after Max goes to bed, with Cameron sitting between us, that is good times. Even this takes planning to make sure we can make it happen. Love is getting up early and letting your partner sleep, even though you are exhausted. Love is a hug in the kitchen while your partner empties the dishwasher. Love is telling someone that no matter how hard it gets, you are going to be there, and it will be okay.
Scott - I love you. And I love you more every day when I see how patient you are with Max, how you don't lose your cool when he gets really upset, how you remain gentle even as he lashes out in frustration. I love that you take so much joy in seeing Cameron's progress, and that you too do not take any of it for granted. I love that you cherish me, and make me feel like I am a goddess. We have a tough road ahead of us, and I know that one day, we will get to look back at the life we have lived, and smile, knowing we did our best, together.

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  1. 80% of marriages for couples who have a child with autism end in divorce. 80%!!! And it's no surprise really....raising neuro-typical kids is hard enough, throw some autism into the mix and, well, as you said...not so romantic. Just really expensive and exhausting! :) But, I know neither of us would trade in our little boys for all the romance in the world.

  2. I had no idea it was that high, but I'm not surprised.

    You are right, I wouldn't trade Max for all the romance in the world.

  3. Anonymous5:45 p.m.

    Hmmm.I'd love to see the source for those statistics and whether they refer to the USA or Canada.


  4. 80-85% is commonly quoted, by the NAA and many articles dealing with the topic of autism and the stress it puts on families and marriages. Believe me, I wish it wasn't the case, but I know even anecdotally, I've seen it time and time again...far more often then my friends with neuro-typical kiddos.

  5. I just really like that post. It kind of brought tears to my eyes so I hope you meant it or I'm gonna feel really dumb ;)

    PS: Scott, i also love you on both me and Kat's behalf!

  6. I totally meant it, it's okay if it brought tears to your eyes.

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