The Man I Married

I want to tell all of you about my husband today, the man I married. He is the man in our lives who gives us stability and as much certainty as is possible once autism has claimed your only son; for me, my only child. He’s the kind of man who stands tall and proud, very often a head above the fray. He is a man who deserves, by far, more respect and admiration than he all too often finds. He is also a man very much in touch with his own feelings. A man who sobbed at the foot of his young son’s bed as he lay sleeping, the night he had learned his only heir had autism. I have yet to see him cry about his son’s autism since that daunting night, although I am guessing he must.

My husband was a very accomplished athlete in his younger days. To this day, athletics; his love for competition, are still an important part of his life. I cannot even begin to know how it must feel to him knowing his son most likely will never not only share this passion with him, but most likely will never be able to participate in sports nor even attend a sporting event with any sense of belonging.

He also loved cars, especially fast cars, as young man. I think about how it must feel to him wondering if his own son will eventually have the wherewithal to be able to drive. The time is yet to dawn upon us, but if I were forced to make a wager today, I’d bet he will not. I hope and pray that I am wrong.

While autism has taken much from my man and his son, from his family as a whole, it has also given him much. He is man who has evolved far higher than most ever will. He is a man who recognizes a mom, a complete stranger, with a young child who has autism. He sees the uncertainty in her gaze, the fear in her eyes and the pain in her face. He approaches her and offers her not only words of encouragement, but a place to turn for support and help, a safe place void of people who do not understand or seem to care.

He is the man in the bar who watches another young man who has arrived late in the evening to retrieve his drunken father and bring him safely home. The young man is patient in his many attempts to convince his father it is time to leave. He is also extraordinarily quiet for a man his age. He sits uncomplaining for minutes that turn into hours. He is very obviously out of his realm, far from his comfort zone. He waits, all the while remaining ever so forbearing and steadfast to his father.

When I share with my husband the valiant young man has Asperger Syndrome; how terribly misunderstood he was all throughout his years in school, my husband is the man who gets up, walks over to where he is standing alone and softly speaks to him. As I look on, I can only imagine what he may have said. I am, however, aware of the sheepish smile I see the young man return to him, as he nods in affirmation. I notice the glimmer of gratitude in his eyes.

The man I was fortunate enough to marry is true to his own son. He is supportive of his over zealous wife and all of her efforts on behalf of their son. He is enduring of both of us. He is kind and wise far beyond his years and compassionate, a man of integrity and true grit. He is the kind of man who when he sees a young man wishing he were anywhere but where he is at the moment, a young man who is very obviously uncomfortable but whose own mindset will not allow him to disregard his own father, my husband is the man who very casually tells him, “Hang in there,” while all others seem indifferent and quite content in their indifference to the entire situation. He is the man who makes differences in the lives of others without recognition or distinction or fanfare.

So today, I want to tell you about my man, my husband, the man I married……