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Friday, 26 September 2014

Married to Aspergers and craving those moments of thoughtfulness

Feeling a little ashamed of myself today after yesterday's rant. In the calm light of day, Ethan's behaviour yesterday really doesn't seem that bad - quite laughable really, in a deranged, dark-humour kind of a way.
I do apologise to anyone hoping to find something enlightening, uplifting or helpful in my latest blog post and instead finding just a splurge of inexplicable rage and self-pity. If it helps at all, me being able to off-load onto the blog did mean that I didn't off-load (too much) onto Ethan which I'm very thankful for, particularly as this morning, I realise perhaps he's not quite the awful person I decided he was last night.
Anyway, apologies - you're all still wondering what the heck he did. And apologies again that this probably won't be the high-tension, shocking story you were probably expecting...
Yesterday was always going to be a tricky one to manage. It required me to pick up the kids from school, drop them in the after-school club, go to a PTA meeting, pick kids up (plus one extra), bring all four kids home and, in a forty-minute window, get them all fed and get two of them into Beavers uniforms and one of them into a Brownie uniform. By then Ethan should have been home at which point I would whizz Ava around a high school open evening (with Oliver in tow) for 45 minutes before dashing her to Brownies and, 90 minutes later, picking four Brownies up and dropping them all home. Ethan, for his part, had to get home from work on time, have a bite to eat and take the boys to Beavers where he was volunteering for the first time on a woodland walk.
A tight itinerary but possible - maybe it even could have been fun. However, events transpired against us (or am I being Aspergerised?! Always blaming outside events/people when things go wrong? Events  didn't transpire against us, we messed it up all by ourselves).
I pulled up in our driveway at 4.40pm to the happy sight of Ethan scowling at us. As I got out of the car he berated me for locking the porch door meaning he'd not been able to get into the house. Confused, I opened the porch door, he grabbed the bag he'd slung there ten hours earlier, extracted his car/house keys and marched back down the drive informing me on the way that the car was still at work because he'd forgotten his keys (he'd borrowed a work van to get home in case anyone's wondering) and that he'd be at least an hour and a half getting there and back for the third time that day.
"What about helping at Beavers?" I called after him?
"Well...." said Ethan, leaving the question hanging.
I wondered whether I should embark on re-arranging all Ethan's arrangements - apologising that we couldn't pick up the boy that Ethan was meant to be picking up, apologising to the Beaver leader that, unfortunately due to work commitments (ie Ethan being gormless) he wouldn't be able to help that night after all. I hung back, hoping and somehow even sensing, that it would be OK. I made tea for the kids, got the relevant uniforms on, found torches for the boys' Beaver walk, even made Ethan something to eat in the car on the way to Beavers (still trusting he'd be back in time). He arrived back at 6.16pm and managed to get to Beavers only around 5 minutes late. I took Ava to the high school thing, she had to miss Brownies as, due to me not being able to leave the boys with Ethan as I was meant to, we'd got too late to make both. After a quick dash around the high school we whizzed to pick up the other girls who had gone to Brownies to drop them all home. I also had to drop the bag that had been left at our house by the boy who'd come for tea. During the course of all this, I had a call from Ethan who, having completed the walk as a helper, was now stranded at the scout hut where they'd finished the walk with his car at the woods where they'd started the walk! It was dark and cold and he had two wet, muddy boys. To his credit, he handled the oversight well, in his usual very direct, very practical way. He did make a dig at me for 'volunteering him' to help in the first place when, in actual fact, he'd agreed wholeheartedly to it and was very keen at the time. However, I managed to keep a lid on my indignation. His survival tactics, conscious or not, when things go wrong seem to be to blame someone else.
But then we all got home. The kids were shattered - including poor old Oliver who had been dragged around with me and a selection of different girls until way past his bedtime. Ethan was spent as I can totally understand. He'd had an intense day at work, driven from Liverpool to Manchester, driven home from Manchester to Cheshire then back to Manchester then back to Cheshire, straight into a walk through the woods with dozens of small boys. But I was pretty shattered too, and still had to go back out to deliver some flowers to someone then had to do school-bags, lunchboxes, uniforms, feed the hamster, load the dishwasher and get the washing in - obviously I was hoping Ethan might do one or two of the evening's jobs. When I came down from getting Oliver and Ava into bed, Ethan was in the office, computer on, lights off, watching a programme. I couldn't help pointing out everything that I still had to do.
"And I haven't had any tea yet," I moaned. Having made it for everyone else, including Ethan, there hadn't been time for me to eat anything. I stomped out of the house to the sounds of Ethan still watching TV. But, and this is where I'd set myself up for a fall, as I walked into the front door ten minutes later, I could hear Ethan in the kitchen clattering pots around. 'Ah, I thought, he can be so lovely. He's obviously making me something to eat. That's so nice when he's shattered too and has had such a long day.' I entered the kitchen just as he was leaving it, with a big bowl of porridge and fresh fruit and a cup of tea - for himself. He walked past me, went back into the office, closed the door and pressed play on his programme!!
That's when the angry splurge spilt over onto my blog post yesterday...
...and that's a very long explanation of something that's kind of neither here nor there. But at the same time, it's those little attentions and moments of thoughtfulness that make a person feel loved, cherished, thought about. And that's what so often missing from our relationship - more and more so actually. Plus, I understood that him forgetting his keys was a complete accident and as annoying for him as it was for the rest of us, but it had implications on me and on Ava that meant her missing Brownies and hardly having any time at the high school open evening. It would just have been nice for him to throw out a casual sorry for being gormless. And on that note, is it an Aspergers thing that the most common-sense practices, such as checking you've got your keys, wallet and phone when you leave the house just don't happen in someone with Aspergers? But that's for the subject of a whole other post...


  1. No need to feel ashamed at all Laura, you'd had a busy and stressful day too, and it's not too much to expect a bit of thoughtfulness and kindness, is it. But it rarely happens I'm afraid, and we are left deflated and disappointed. And sad.
    Hannah x

  2. If it makes you feel any better, my husband with Asperger's could never even have done all that Ethan did. I can't count the number of things we have done together where he just shut down in the middle and left me to finish up, put away and clean up, and we don't have children and he doesn't usually work full-time. I know what you mean about the thoughtfulness, too... I'm glad things look better in the light of day. : ) As far as the common-sense practices, my husband has routines for all that that he does every day. He rarely forgets any of the usual stuff-keys, phone, wallet. If anyone forgets her keys (just two days ago I had to wait for AH to come home so I could get in-after all, you don't interrupt their day unless it's urgent and I had intended to go shopping anyway...), or leaves the car light on or leaves her phone at home, it's me.
    : / I just found your blog and am enjoying it. Just found out my husband has Asperger's two days ago, and it is so helpful to read about other families like this. I finally understand so many things about my husband. Thank you for making time in your busy schedule to write this blog. It is very appreciated. : )