Scary stuff huh? Well, what about single parents with autistic children? Someone should do a study on our chances of ever getting married. But I guess you have to date first before you even consider marriage, and dating seems impossible when this is your life. Every time I meet a guy with whom I share a common interest, I always wonder when I'm supposed to tell him. "Hi, my name is Lade, and I have 2 boys. 1 is autistic. He'll probably write on your walls and eat your soap, but he's the most awesome 6 year old in the world!" Then, I imagine them taking off like road runner. In the beginning, men are always interested, but as soon as I reveal I have an autistic son, they run away from me like a plague. Someone suggested an online dating site for parents with autistic children, but I'm 25 for crying out loud. Online dating is the last resort for people over 40, right? ...right? I don't blame anyone for hightailing it. Not everyone can handle the emotional and physical stress of raising a special needs child. Someone said "God only gives special needs children to special parents." But does God provide special step-parents too?
Dating is tough enough as a young mother of 2, but when you add the element of autism to it, it seems impossible. Don't get me wrong, I made my bed, and I can definitely stretch out and lie in it. However, I must have watched too many Disney movies as a kid because I am a hopeful romantic. But what do you do when no one wants to babysit, and when you're too scared to even let most people babysit? It only takes a split second for something to happen (if even that long with mine). I always say dating me comes with a lot of fine print. I can only do lunch dates when the kids are in school....I come to you, you don't come to my house....I may cancel or stand you up often, as things always come up...I only seriously date men w at least one child. Parents are more empathic of my world that "single folk." Great catch huh? :) Don't get me wrong, I don't want a "savior" or someone who falls in love with my kids and dedicates his life to me for that reason. I believe God's structure of the family is husband and wife first, then kids, then everyone else. For that reason, the person I will marry will be the person I would have married even if I didn't have kids. The character of that person is part of that package.
I thought I had found all that in my last relationship. And to top it all off, he had a brother who required special care, so we related on that level. So when that ended, I figured I was doomed to be single until my late 30s when I would find a nice divorced man to marry. Either that or I had to figure out how to get along with cats...quickly.
God had a funny way of working things out. As soon as you think its over, he does something to make you realize who the boss is. He refocuses your attention on him, so you can give him all the glory. As soon as I gave up, he turned my attention to someone I had long decided was "just a friend." He calls me his "blessing in an unlikely vessel." However, along with all the qualms about a new relationship, I have the added worry of what role autism will play in this relationship. When you do find someone who is willing to accept the challenge of raising your autistic child with you, a whole slew of questions and challenges arise that you never even thought of before. Will it be the glue that sticks us together, or will it be a hindrance? Will he google "how to remove cheese from walls" with me, or will he ask us to leave, groceries and all? Will he have so much love for my family that he will join us on our autism walk, or will he tuck his tail and run after fully realizing how tough my world is? Of course I pray for the former, but we'll just have to wait and see....