I watched a new documentary today about Autism on Netflix. For me it was nothing I didn't know already. The tears came as I watched other families struggle with daily life. Something stuck out to me as I watched each family's story. The same question kept popping into my head, I wonder how their marriage is?
Marriage is hard enough with the ins and outs of compromise and patience and love. I remember such optimism for me and my husband's future. I knew who I was at the time and loved who we were together. We had goals and we had dreams. It's been 12 years since then. A short time really, but I feel that our relationship has been pulled and stretched till it doesn't remotely look as it did in the beginning and it certainly doesn't look like our hopes and dreams.
It is a new and different thing, forged in the fires of success, failures, no sleep, fights, Autism, ADHD, therapy, and the list goes on. My mind is coming to wrap itself around who we have become. We are the parents of children with ASD. My worry is that that has become the only thing that defines us. It overshadows everything else in our life. ASD doesn't pick and choose the things it affects, it affects everything.
I watched the parents in the film and I saw such dedication to their children. But I felt myself wanting to ask them, do you still make time for each other? Is your relationship based on anything else besides the mutual desire to help your child? Is there anytime for love and defining yourself as a couple? I needed to know this because some days I am so overwhelmed with being the caretaker I forget that I am also a person, a wife, a companion.
So here is to trying to be better at being more than a mother of children with ASD. I am a wife to a man that I find very interesting. I will talk to him more about things besides our children. I will engage him in the things that brought us together in the first place, like sports and music and books.I will look for new things that we can do together to enrich our relationship. For when I sat back and thought about those couples more, I realized that the best thing we can do for our children with ASD is give them happy parents.