If you’ve been reading you know that Tucker’s dad and I are no longer together.
It’s true – and I’m pretty sure it’s not what either of us imagined on the day we said, “I do.” I have to place bets that no one expects to be where we ended up.
14 years past that June day…and here we are. Separate – but always connected by these two beautiful children.
Am I saying thank you to my former husband? (Yes…I refrain from saying ‘X’ because I have no desire to ‘X’ him out of my life).
Yes, I sure am.
At one point in time we loved each other enough to create these two magnificent children. One neurotypical, one not.
There is a myth that nearly 80% of marriages with a child on the spectrum end in divorce. That is NOT true – but many folks still believe the statistic. A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-011-1269-y) found no evidence that suggested these families are at a higher risk of divorce.
The stress of autism is real – appointments, testing, therapies, IEP’s, money for treatments, scheduling, behavior, disagreements, the burden of grief and guilt, lack of support – all things that simply add to the existing stress of marriage. The funny thing about research is that it’s always changing – in an earlier study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) it was found that parents of ASD children were almost twice as likely to divorce than families without disabilities (http://midus.wisc.edu/findings/pdfs/829.pdf).
I’m only giving this research to provide background. It’s actually pretty simply to me – autism does not cause divorce. People do.
Enough of that. Moving on.
I’m thankful for his dad. I know it seems sort of contrary to popular culture – but I’ve never been anything but contrary to normal.
You see – I don’t think there is any point of disparaging or hating someone you once loved. What good does it really do? It seems to me that it simply breeds more negativity…the one thing this world doesn’t need more of. I have no desire to hold onto yuck…one can never heal until we figure out a way to let it go and move forward.
Move forward as a healthy, happy, and whole human.
It didn’t work – it was my fault and his fault. Does that make me sad? Sure. Did I mourn that relationship? Of course. Do I have guilt? Duh. Do I dwell on it now? No way.
In fact, I still love him – not in the way that married people love each other. But I do love and care for him as a wonderful friend, as someone who still makes me laugh…and more importantly as the father of my children.
It’s my responsibility as their mother to encourage and guide that relationship – whether that means EVERY NIGHT goodnight phone calls (if my phone is charged…that’s another story) or continuing to go out to eat as a foursome. Our children know they are loved. Our children know we will always work together to do what’s best for them. Our children know that we still care for each other.
If there is such as thing as doing this divorce thing different and in the ‘right’ way…I think we’re as close as can be.
So, yes – here’s to you Slim. Thank you.
Thank you for being different parent than I. Not bad, just different.
Thank you for offering to attend meetings and be the bad*** if necessary.
Thank you for working at getting this thing called autism.
Thank you for commenting on my blogs that ‘my children have the best mother there is.’
Thank you for giving me a break from it all.
Thank you for listening to my frustrations.
Thank you for telling me that I’m a great writer.
Thank you for being their dad.
Now, if you could just refrain from letting Tucker eat an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting, that would be great.