Felt like I came close to breaking point (again) with Ethan last weekend.
We'd been to a friend's housewarming party and, although he wasn't particularly sociable or engaged, things were going OK.
Then Sam lost his shoe. Or rather, we discovered that some other kid had thrown Sam's shoe across the garden and it couldn't be found. In the ten minutes that followed, Ethan utterly destroyed the fragile harmony that had existed between us. He shouted at Sam, found out which kid had thrown the shoe (pushing Ava against a wall to get the information out of her), made the five-year-old boy who, apparently, had lost the shoe cry and proceeded with such a single-minded focus to hunt for this blasted shoe that he fobbed off with two or three words any conversation anyone tried to have with him, told the bloke whose house it was that his garden was full of weeds and interrupted a conversation that the host of the party was having with other guests.
It was just embarrassing. And humiliating. And, for a moment - worrying - when Ava told me in front of two other party guests that her 'dad had pushed her against a wall.'
He was sorry afterwards - much afterwards - and, if not, ashamed at how he'd behaved (because I still don't think he really understands how appalling he was) then at least ashamed of what other people thought of him. He described how his need to find the shoe had been all that he could focus on - he didn't notice anything, or anyone, else.
But there's only so far that apologies, and even legitimate explanations, can go. I exist in a social world and, as a couple, sometimes Ethan just needs to be part of that social world with me. I want to be a normal family. I want my marriage to be a partnership - not me having to carry out damage limitation on the destruction that Ethan's caused. I want the kids to have a 'normal' dad who can have fun with them and treat a 'lost' (it was quite quickly found) shoe with the insignificance it deserves.
Part of me wanted to send Ethan to the Travel Lodge down the road (no friends so no friends floors to sleep on!). I'm glad I didn't. He's been like a deflated, lost, confused puppy since. We hoped that the guy whose party it was would turn out to be a friend for Ethan. But tonight he's not turned up to go the cinema with Ethan as they'd planned and I really hope that Ethan hasn't ruined that one possibility he had of growing a friendship.
Aspergers can be so destructive. And I'm under no illusions that our life, our relationship, is always going to be hard work and tumultuous. But I also know that Ethan can do better - if only through learning by rote. I believe he wants to do better - for himself and for our family and, I think, I believe that he will do better. That he's willing to listen to and accept my slamming critique of his behaviour, as if he's my naughty child, means we can move forward at least. I know I need to work on the delivery of my opinions of him on such occasions but the fact he's dusting himself off, trying to learn from mistakes and - just trying, makes me feel I owe it to him to stick with him and play my part in the story of our lives. I hope, and pray, that what's been meant for harm in our lives we will use, somehow, for good.