I generally shy away from writing a lot about my relationship with my husband primarily because relationships are constantly in flux and putting something in writing about it creates a fixed point. (Doctor Who fans will get that reference!)
I don’t want to set a pivot point around which any future relationship discussions might have to revolve. I would much rather leave it flexible, allowing for ebb and flow which, for me, means not writing much about it.
However, learning about the Navigator’s autism and getting his diagnosis significantly impacted our marriage, and I think that is important to talk about.
It had an enormously positive impact for us and we continue to enjoy its benefits.
The Navigator’s diagnosis was a source of relief for us after years of muddling through trying – and failing – to find the best way to teach him right from wrong, rewards and consequences, social norms, and to simply keep him safe.
The diagnosis was a huge weight off of our shoulders – we were not bad parents.
We have become more patient with each other because when thinking of the member of our family who is most precious to us, we are no longer laboring under the painful feelings of What have we done wrong? What are we doing wrong?
After reading so many parenting books and listening to so much advice, it gave us the right path to follow that would truly help him learn right from wrong, to understand what motivated him, and how to give him tools and strategies to use to function within social norms.
We have a shared understanding about what we need to do and are able to successfully work as a team.
The diagnosis opened our eyes to who he really was, which enabled us to pair our innate love of him with true understanding. In the depths of my soul I know there is no greater gift we can give our child than honest acceptance of who he is.
The decision for me to leave my out-of-home job and its steady income in favor of consulting work from home meant that both of us would be working commission-only jobs.
It was a risk, one that we might not have been brave enough to take but for the courage that came from knowing what our son needed.
Probably the most important thing that came out of our son’s diagnosis was a shift in focus to taking things one day at a time.
When you’re taking things one day at a time, you don’t look too far behind and you don’t look too far ahead. There is a certain kind of zen that comes with that, a zen which feels right.
That is good for all of us.