Remember Day #66 – Be Someone’s Someone?
Well, last week I asked my husband to write. I wanted him to write about his experience with the spectrum. He has three children, I have two – we combined to make a happy family of 7 – not quite the Brady Bunch, but close enough. Because he was ‘late’ to the game, I thought he may have a good perspective on how life is different on the spectrum.
He gave me a copy of this last Wednesday and I’ve done quite a bit of thinking about it – it feels odd to publish, but it’s what he wanted to say.
Well gang I knew it was coming…after 122 days she says “will you write?”
Of course I will write. I have thoughts and opinions. Wait a second. I just agreed to write something to be seen by thousands of folks from all over the world. Hmmm…issues??? Nah…I’m going for it.
My line of work (past and present) involves way too much windshield time. Alone with my thoughts, gas station breakfast, and a luke warm cup of coffee. This alone time is the key to me being there for Nikki. Doing my best to be that guy she needs me to be. Because here’s the deal…she’s not normal. Those of you reading this who just giggled out loud must know her. Those of you reading this who thought that was a strange thing to say about my wife need to meet and know my Nikki.
The simple deal is that my Nikki is my perfect. From the day I met her I knew it. When I say she is not normal it is actually meant to compliment her occasionally insane levels of compassion and caring. She doesn’t yell…ever. This is not normal and completely awesome at the same time. God’s plan??? I believe He thought the world needs this combination of Tucker and Nikki. He needs someone who will power through the tears of struggle and dance their butts off every chance they get. They will live it. They will learn it. They will grow from it. She will share their story and others will benefit from it. Tuck can’t have a normal mom so God gave him Nikki. She’s our angel.
We don’t believe in normal at our house. Honestly, it took me awhile to buy in to it but the underlying truth is that everyone has a story and labels suck. Therefore, you be you and if that means spreading those angelic wings then GO FOR IT!!!
I know I’m supposed to be writing about my thoughts and feelings regarding autism, the spectrum, Tucker, and my relationships with all those involved but in order to get to that you have got to understand where I’m coming from. I came in late to the party. Nikki and I met and married after we had kids from previous marriages.
I was not around for the initial early childhood trials and tribulations that Nikki and Tucker battled through. I had heard of autism but never really had any direct interaction with kids or parents coping with it. I knew there was a spectrum but had no idea how stinkin’ big it was or what it all entailed.
However, in the beginning I knew a couple things for fact.
- I was head over heels in love with this woman.
- This was a package deal.
Given these facts I knew I had better get dialed in to this autism thing. She told me all about upside down TV watching in the reflection of the window glass. She told me about heavy blankets. She told me about brushing his body. She told me about bumps and bruises. She told me about tags. She told me about socks. She told me about grounding and hugging. She told me about huge poop. She told me about all kinds of crazy business and then I met Tucker and had about a billion million questions. This is when I first had the spectrum explained to me in detail.
This is also when I first came to understand the incredible challenge facing everyone touched by autism.
This is also when I learned that autism is not something you cure but rather autism is something you cope with.
I know Tuck is over on the high functioning end of the spectrum which means to the casual observer he is a naughty kid. Can’t sit still. Too loud at the wrong times. Obstinate. Guess what? Everybody has a story.
The old me would have thought the kid is total sh**head.
Thanks to my guy Tucker I now try to emulate my lovely wife’s goodness and leave my judgy mcpudgy pants in the closet.
Am I perfect? Heck no!
Am I getting better?