Am experimenting with a different approach to this Aspergers thing - detachment.
Not from Ethan as a person but from the behaviours and words and actions that have kept tripping us up and holding us back and building resentment for so many years.
So, when I came downstairs this morning and Ethan had polished off all the Smoothie carton (that I'd had none of) without giving a thought to the fact that I might want some, I didn't take it personally and got myself a glass of tasty, refreshing water!
My resolve was tested (and temporarily failed) at church later today though. I was at one end of a row with all three kids surrounding me, clawing at me, speaking at me, competing to clamber onto me and generally hassling me while Ethan was at the other end of the row surrounded by three empty chairs. When he finally recognised my frustrated glares, he took the boys to the back of church where he stood staring into space while they ran amok - vaulting over the (recently reupholstered) sofas, squealing at each other and generally making a racket. Ethan was oblivious to the looks of nearby members of the congregation so I had to step in.
I peeled Ava off my knee, separated the boys, grabbed a sticker and colouring book that we're lying nearby and got the boys absorbed in a task each: if not completely quiet then quiet-er, and still.
I missed the song I wanted to sing. Then I had to go upstairs and teach Sunday School.
My instinct was to blame Ethan. To despair at how clueless he is and to feel self-righteously self-pitying at how unfair it all is and how exhausted I am at having to take charge of everything all the time (as well as volunteering at church/school/Beavers for the both of us). Admittedly, I sunk into all of that for a while. It took a long walk on my own while Ethan, to his credit, entertained the kids, to sort my head out.
Now I'm detaching myself - separating out the behaviour and lack of insight from the person. I know that Ethan's desire is to be the best husband and dad that he can be. I know that his heart is to be kind and I know that he does his best. I also know that, however hard I feel life is for me, it's even harder for him. I know that, if he could have prevented it, he wouldn't have zoned out while the boys pranced around him. I know that, if he could have re-programmed his brain to realise that the boys were being inappropriate and if he could have seen what do about it, he would have done it.
And, when I'm tempted to feel badly-done-to, I remind myself that, again and again, he pushes himself-physically, emotionally, mentally and socially to be as close as he can be to the person we all need.