So, today Ethan and I had our last follow-up session with the specialist who diagnosed his Aspergers. The sessions were designed to help with the fall-out from the Aspergers diagnosis - to rant, moan, attack, grieve, wish-out-loud, resent and vent before hopefully reaching a point where we can start to see a way forward and begin talking instead about adapting, changing, accepting, relenting, agreeing, challenging, building up and carving out a new kind of relationship and a new kind of reality.
We talked about how I want to shout from the rooftops that Ethan
has Aspergers because I feel it excuses, or at least explains, so much. I feel less on edge around people that know about Ethan's Aspergers, less nervous about what he might say and how he might be received. It feels safer that, should Ethan slip up, he - and by association I - have an 'excuse'. Ethan, on the other hand, wants to keep his 'status' hidden from all but a select few friends and family. For the first time today I heard him speak touchingly, openly and honestly about why...
He spoke about the vulnerability of people knowing. Of the lifetime of hard graft he's had 'pretending to be normal' - just for that to be destroyed in seconds by admitting to people that he's not 'normal' after all. He spoke about the awkwardness of his cover being blown and people knowing that he's pretending to be normal - which defeats the object of pretending in the first place.
I think, for himself, he needs to have a reason to keep on striving to fit in. Perhaps he feels that if everyone knows, it'll be an excuse to sink into his Aspergers. Something that we both want to avoid.
By the end of today's session, I felt we could forge a way forward - if the commitment remains in us both. If we both continue to try to understand each other more. If we keep sight of each other's good points, if we communicate more and pray a lot! And, crucially for me if I'm really honest with myself, to care less about what other people think.
What choice do we have but to keep on keeping on? We've got three kids. And we've got a relationship worth working on.
So change it is.