Feel tempted to write about the blow-out Ethan and I had today over broccoli and carrots for tea – which resulted in him drinking a large tumbler full of Pimms and me crying.
But, I’m aware that this blog could quite easily slip into a ‘Isn’t Ethan awful and aren’t I badly done to?’ commentary and I am far from where I should be in terms of being a supportive, calm and positive partner to Ethan. So I’m going to talk about what went right this week instead...
...the most notable being the text that Ethan sent me last Friday when I was at work. It was notable for its length (it’s the most communication I’ve ever had in one go from Ethan), the fact it came completely out-of-the-blue, and its content – proof that Ethan can both identify and express his feelings. Here it is [with my two-pence worth inserted in square brackets]:
Ethan: ‘I’m sitting in Costa. Finished the job and, amazingly, no rain.’ [light-hearted opener – he’s learning the art of conversation, even by text] We’ve been OK the last couple of days but still not right. Our priorities are wrong. One of the biggest causes of marriage breakdown are arguing and not spending relaxed time together. We may be better not arguing as much [he’s right – we (me really) are learning to let things go more] but not good with spending quality time together. [At this point I really did get butterflies thinking that maybe he was calling time on our relationship...I couldn’t imagine why else he would be sending me such a, for him, epic length communication.] Being relaxed and laughing together is our next milestone we need to pass. Should have sent you an email. My longest text ever. I Love You. [First time I’ve heard/read that in a while].
My reply: ‘Wow, that’s the longest text I’ve had from you ever. I know. We haven’t laughed together for a long time. We need to find more to celebrate and less to criticise. And you really need to stop trying to fill the gaps in your life with buying things. [We’ve had another issue lately with Ethan spending all our money on expensive items for himself.] Let’s use the money to go out instead.’
Ethan: ‘Agreed (back to normal 1 word texts).’ [First joke he’s made in ages too].
To me, that text conversation – not about the kids, not about jobs that need doing, not about (too much) what gripes we had with each other, not about his Aspergers; but a constructive, positive, feeling-based text, prompted by Ethan and written out of love, was a little taster of what we can have, if we keep working at it. And proof that there are feelings, and the means to express them, within Ethan. I need to find ways to extricate them more often without wearing him out in the process – it’s taken him ‘til now to recover from his texting marathon (both the RSI and the emotional drain!)