If you mention Autism I think almost everyone can think of someone they know on the Spectrum. Right off the bat, anyone can think of some negative stigmas, stereotypes or aspects of being Autistic, but today I am going to talk about how all of that is absolutely okay and maybe even positive in some situations.
Social awkwardness is a very obvious trait of being on the Spectrum. One characteristic of having ASD is having difficulty with social interactions. This difficulty can present itself in a variety of ways depending on the situation. Some examples of this are, trouble making phone calls, anxiety or nervousness when it comes to ordering or paying for something because of the unexpected conversations that can come up. If someone asked, “Do you want a drink?”, Cole may become extremely nervous and some of these things may run through his head: What size? What kind? I hadn’t thought about it. Does McKenna want a drink? I hope she likes what I chose. THIS IS OK! No one is a mind reader. Thankfully we live in 2019 where we are fortunate enough to have options like mobile ordering in restaurants, advance reservations in movie theatres and texting or online chatting when it comes to technical issues. I don’t mind being the one out of the two of us who is more comfortable in these situations. If anything it has taught me to become a bigger advocate and speak up when Cole can’t. There are times when I simply cannot handle things for Cole and that is also absolutely ok. Every time he gets through a tough phone call, orders something for us at a business or any other social situation, I see a sense of pride on his face. I see him grow, and I love being the one to help him through that.
Another characteristic of ASD is routine. Not simply having one, it means a physical and emotional need for routine, thriving off of structure. THAT IS O.K! At times the routine in which Cole finds comfort can be a type of maddening monotony for me. On the other hand, I also find comfort in some of the predictability of my days. I know that Thursday’s we have pizza for dinner and enjoy game night together. I know that each week we will likely eat the same variety of food. In a single week, Cole will always eat Goldfish or Cheez-Its, pasta, numerous varieties of bread (Italian, Pita, Naan, Baguettes, pretzel), one of the 3 same veggies, and food cooked the same exact way every time. I know if I want Chicken for dinner, I make it one of 2 ways… And he will always like it. Maybe the most important thing Cole ever told me, while we were dating will always stick with me: I told him that I felt bad just making him some plain pasta with salt and plain bread. I didn’t feel like it was good enough, like it was a disappointment of a meal. When I apologized for such a plain meal, he grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “Babe, don’t apologize. You thought of me and made something that I enjoy and that is what means most to me.” From that point on I knew that I never had to feel bad for not preparing “nicer” meals. I would much rather be married to someone who appreciates a late night meal of grapes, and pasta or even $1 chicken nuggets then with someone who is ungrateful or disappointed with my efforts.
Attention to detail may not be an issue to everyone but for someone on the Spectrum chances are that this is a very big deal. At times as someone watching from the outside I can think, “Well, what’s the big deal?” or, “Stop being so anal!”, but in the end of the day guess what? THAT IS OK! Some of the things that I appreciate most about Cole the most come from those anal tendencies. Sometimes it can take what seems like forever for Cole to park the car perfectly. While this can be irritating if we are in a hurry, he wants to find the perfect spot that is easiest for me to access. Cole can be a perfectionist when it comes to his appearance, if he’s having bad hair day or something isn’t right with his clothes, it truly bothers him and can sometimes put a kink in our day. THAT IS O.K. At the end of the day, I am thankful to be married to a man that knows what he likes, that is confident in himself and his appearance and in his ability to get me somewhere safely.
These are just a few of the reasons why having ASD IS OK! and my husband wouldn’t be the man I love if he didn’t. I am thankful for his ability to put me first while also being confident in himself, and because of that he makes me feel confident and comfortable every day of my life.
MY HUSBAND HAS ASD AND THAT IS O.K. I love him in spite of it, because of it; having ASD makes him the man he is today, the husband and man I love!
BEING DIFFERENT IS OK!