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On Being Engaged, Not Being A Spring Chicken, and Blended AU Families

Sooo: I’m engaged! IMG_1747It happened suddenly, but then not so suddenly given that we aren’t exactly spring chickens.

We are both happy and in love and want to increase our family. Yes, people, I want more children and have for a very long while. Probably not by childbirth because there are plenty of brown babies/kids in L.A. who need loving homes and who would fit nicely into mine.  This is also not the first marriage for either of us, which makes us pretty clear on what we want and (dare I say it?) experienced. Ahem.

We are thrilled and so are our families. We are both known in our respective families for being a bit rebellious and independent and for doing and saying what we want so no one is really surprised either. The wedding is later this year and we are in FULL planning mode, as well as figuring out blended family life. My mother is ecstatic that there will be two weddings in the family this year. (However, this being my second wedding and all, my mom isn’t helping pay for it as she and my stepdad did my first one so that makes it a bit easier and much more fun for her.) And as my best friend (and matron of honor) said when she found out, “Let’s make this one stick, Gloria.” Indeed! 😉

The purpose of Divorcing Autism is to talk about divorce and coparenting in the special needs family. To that end, there’s a lot to manage. My fiance Johnny is busy learning autism and special needs and (most importantly) Aidan.  IMG_2002Ours is definitely a different journey and path as he found out when Aidan stood in his face giggling (inappropriate social space!) or when Aidan screamed because of distant dog noises that no one but a person with super-hearing could hear.

Johnny is reading Stanley Greenspan’s Engaging Autism and also watched Fly Away, the movie about a single mom with autism, and whose writer and producer I interviewed last year. Additionally, he’s part of all the team meetings I have for Aidan and recently toured new high school possibilities for Aidan, along with a member of Aidan’s IEP and my ex-husband. A couple of days later Johnny, my ex-husband and I all met up on Johnny’s boat and talked and hung out. And drank Jim Beam together. (Best way to bond, I think.)

Yes, that’s all of us in that picture there, my new and old family.

While I doubt my ex and my future husband will ever be best friends (please dear God, no!), it’s good to know they are both working in Aidan’s best interests because it’s my job as his mami to make sure that the adults around him worry about that. As I have told many of my female mom friends who are out dating, it doesn’t matter if a man gets along with YOU (we can find that anywhere)–can he get along with your entire life and family and your child(ren)? Because if not, it he is a colossal waste of time.

I told my now-fiance on our first date (it may have even been before the first drink), that I had a adolescent with autism AND I wanted a family and more kids. Bold? Hell yeah! But this spring chicken is going on 36 and the clock’s a-tickin’ if I’m gonna raise some more agitators. And Johnny tells me that (besides falling in love with me on that first date) that he heard that and thought “Is this something that I can deal with? ” and then he thought immediately after, “Yes, this is worth doing.” And he loved that I didn’t lie about my son’s disability. As if!

That conversation led to a lot, including him meeting my entire family in Austin, Texas at my sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner and then proposing. And that was that. And now he gets to sit with me arguing with the disability regional center or Aidan’s therapists or school and of course, a home of Aidan-Aidan-Aidan 24/7, whether that’s him getting up in the middle of the night to “play” by stimming on videos to pacing nonstop around us when he wants us to know something. But he does it and there’s a LOT of communication about it and Aidan’s needs and the future.

Because isn’t this kid worth all of the work that everyone puts into him?

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– See more at: http://lagloria.typepad.com/divorcing_autism/page/2/#sthash.MMiyhTOi.dpuf

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