My husband Cj and I celebrated 10 years of being together – 10 years since we first met. We actually have three anniversaries (yep), but this one is the one I regard to be the most important because it was this one that marks the date that life as I knew it would be tipped upside-down.
God, my husband is gorgeous. He is the most incredible father who is ever-present for his tribe of girls. He has this cheeky grin, and he has a great sense of humor and makes me laugh a lot. He’s so bright. He teaches me lots of things. He also is fantastic at pulling me up when I’ve taken something too far, and he’ll often be the first person to roll his eyes and sigh with a comment like, “Why must you always insist on learning things the hard way?” (Because that’s me, baby, a bull in your china shop).
My husband is a 33-year-old male. He also has autism.
We were together seven years before we realised he has autism. It wasn’t until after my eldest daughter was diagnosed after a few years of back and forth deliberation on my behalf that we finally got her assessed and diagnosed — and then it occurred to us that Cj has autism, too.
I knew my eldest daughter wasn’t “neurotypical” from about age four in kindergarten.
Back then I didn’t drive. So we walked everywhere. If I walked a different route to kindergarten, she would fall apart. If I didn’t give warning when I planned to change her usual breakfast food, she would not handle it. She never liked to be touched by other kids in kindergarten. She didn’t cope well with singing songs. She would cry and cover her ears when someone sang “Happy Birthday” louder than a hushed tone. She didn’t give good eye contact. She didn’t cope with meeting new people very well. She was rigid in her routine, and there were plenty of routines.