I'm proud of my husband and, given that I spend so much of the time feeling frustrated and slightly disappointed in him, pride makes a nice change. And it's not because I've closed my mind to his shortcomings and our problems (which, of course, are half my doing as well). It's because I've consciously decided (for today at least) to focus on what he has and does achieve, how hard he tries - regardless of whether or not he gets it right, and of how he keeps persisting in areas that the rest of us take for granted. I'm proud of him despite of and because of his Aspergers.
He's spent this weekend, with a group of other blokes, feeling (I know although he wouldn't say) a little inferior, a little on the edge, a little out of his depth. He's been in situations that have been uncomfortable for him, he's been required to be focused, to be present and engaged - with very little downtime - for a whole weekend. And then he's had to come home to a houseful of kids and chaos and noise and demands and enter straight into a busy world of work pressures starting at 4am the next morning. And he's done it all with good grace and cheerfulness.
He's been open and vulnerable too - and it touched my heart almost as much as it would if it was one of my kids when he told me, on the phone, that he wished he could throw a whistle rocket as well as everyone else (sport, and coordination in general, has never been his strong point) and wished he had someone to practise with.
And I really appreciated, when he arrived home exhausted from the social and emotional effort of the weekend - which to everyone else will have been a break and a chance to recharge - that he still made the effort to chat to me and spend time with the kids.
Perhaps most people would think all this is no big deal - just part of being human and in a family, but I know that none of this comes easily or naturally for Ethan. I know it costs him a lot. And yet he perseveres - he steps out of his comfort zone and goes away for weekends with a load of neuro-typical blokes, then comes home and hangs out with his kids, because he wants to push himself to be the best and most 'normal' dad/husband/friend that he can be. And, for that, I will always be proud.