Don’t you just love when you think you know exactly the way your life is gonna go and then something unexpectedly wonderful happens that changes everything? Well, that’s the theme of today’s post. As promised, here’s the beautiful unfolding tale I mentioned in a recent gratitude list.
So which “L” word were you thinking about? Love? Life? Learning? This is an autism blog after all. And all of those “L” words are appropriate. But I actually meant to reference the Showtime series here, it wasn’t an accident that I picked this title. It was intentional because I’ve fallen in love with the most amazing person I’ve ever met– and her name is Aubrey.
For so much of my life I had a vision of how things were supposed to be. Many of my challenges have revolved around staying still long enough to allow the inside of me– my ideas and passions– to coordinate with the outside of me– my goals and projects. It’s not that I wasn’t always open to allowing other people to be who they are, or that I thought everyone should fit inside some sort of “box” or category. It’s not even that I felt like I myself should fit into one particular character or role. It’s just that it has always been difficult for me to believe that anything is possible, to give my genuine attention to my deepest desires and most sincere wishes. I tend to limit my possibilities by letting my logical, rational brain try to determine the “how” of things, instead of letting my heart be happy entertaining the bigger dreams.
One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie “The Secret” which is about the Law of Attraction:
“Grass doesn’t struggle to grow. It’s effortless, it’s just perfectly designed that way.”
Every time I get to a point where I can let go of my preconceived notions about my life, where I can acknowledge there are greater forces at work in the universe and that I may be limiting myself by thinking that I actually *know* something about my future, miraculous things occur. Enter Aubrey.
I graduated college, got married, bought a house, gave birth to a son. I journeyed through autism diagnosis, early intervention, inclusion, special education with him. I gave birth to a daughter and journeyed through the land of the typical and other health issues with her. I survived, my marriage was steady for a long time. Then the storms came, our home shook, the pressures were too much and it all seemed to collapse.
Everything I thought I had, everything I thought I wanted, lay in a crumbled heap. Kind of like the way the living room used to look after a long, crazy day– a jumble of toys and couch cushions and snacks and socks and leftover dinner plates and unfinished projects. Only instead of all that stuff, there were unrealized dreams and changed expectations, puddles of tears shed for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on… Sure, I knew I was grieving the loss of visions and hopes of what family life would be like for me and my husband, I was grieving for what I would never experience with Alex. I was fine in Holland, just fine I told myself. But somewhere in the back of my mind, Italy still called to me and I had to redirect my thoughts and translate its words into the language of autism mom.
My marriage finally broke under the weight of that crumbled heap of emotions and anxieties and misunderstandings and betrayals. And I got divorced. On the road to separation, I had to come to terms with the fact that it was a distinct possibility that I would never find love again, that I might indeed remain a single parent for a long time. I took a deep breath, accepted this possibility, and began work on recovering my family life.
I created a safe space for myself and my children. I moved some beloved pieces of my mother’s furniture into a new home. And for the first time in a long time, I set my sights on intentionally creating *my* life and considering the key elements that help me feel calm and happy. I opened my mind just to the possibility that my life could include a healthy, loving, cooperative relationship.
My best friend teases me that I have a “magic journal,” that whenever I write from my heart a vision of how I want my life to be, that vision becomes reality. Such power, right? Well believe me, if I knew how this magic journal thing actually works, I’d wield that power to do a lot more good in the world. For now I’m content with marveling at the good luck I’m afforded when I get clarity through my written words.
At the suggestion of a relationship book author, I wrote down my ideal day. Pictures in my head of what happens, what my partner says to me, how the day looks, feels and sounds. I made it vivid and fun, I wrote words that made me smile, I included basketball for some odd reason (which I don’t play except when it’s baskesoccaling with my son). Then I read it over and gave myself permission to sink into it and believe for just a moment that it was real. I felt the joy of that day and I was thankful.
A couple weeks later, I met Aubrey. I’ve now lived my ideal day many times over. She is beautiful (my favorite word!), intelligent, accomplished in her profession, compassionate and warm. She was captain of her high school basketball team (thanks, magic journal). And I am so grateful for this new chance at true love.
Do you have an extraordinary, out-of-the-box or just plain special autism-family love story?
Please share it with me via comment or email at email@example.com