'Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.' Einstein.
That's the second time Einstein has been mentioned in this 6-day-old blog. But perhaps that's apt, as experts reckon that Einstein could well have had Aspergers. So my husband, Ethan, is in pretty good company.
I love this quote. It reminds me that comparisons between people are generally useless and sometimes damaging.
It's hard not to become despairing with Ethan though when I have to take over Ava's reading homework again because Ethan keeps getting all the words wrong ('Michael' became 'Michelle' yesterday in Ava's reading book - much to her indignation. And Ethan was stumped by questions such as 'what does contempt mean?') Understandably, Ava gets frustrated (as do I as I try to read with Ava at the same time as making dinner!). It's hard not to feel annoyed when I always have to take the lead at social events. Or when I tell Ethan something, write a note about it, send a text reminder and still have to deal with disappointed little boys whose daddy has forgotten (within the 30 minutes from leaving the house to coming home again) that he's meant to be taking them for babycinnos! (see my 8th Feb blog post Baked beans, babycinnos and Aspergers).
But, this weekend, Ethan fixed Ava's broken drawer, put up some shelves, mended the laptop, drew a (pretty impressive) T-Rex head for Sam's dinosaur hat for school, took Oliver on the miniature train, updated my phone (whatever that entails) and patiently read-through Ava's magic tricks booklet so he could teach her a couple of tricks. All things that I just don't have the aptitude, skills or patience for (with the exception of the miniature train!) Instead, I engaged my social and negotiating skills to talk to Ava's dance teacher about her stopping tap and ballet and taking up street-dance, going out with Ava and another mum and her daughter to a country park, taking Sam to a party and socialising with all the mums (and dads) there, teaching Sunday School at church and going out for a girlie dinner party on Saturday night. Oh, and reading with Ava!
Maybe herein lies one of the keys to successfully navigating a relationship where one person has Aspergers: to recognise each others strengths and weaknesses and play to them. And to accept the things that each of us are not good at.
Maybe, like Einstein, Ethan will discover some life-changing theory one day. Or maybe he'll just discover a life-changing theory to help him live with Aspergers in a chaotic, loud, and messy family (and world). Or maybe it'll be me that discovers the life-changing theory of learning to accept...