Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Big Meet And Greet

There comes a time when you are in the dating world that you have to introduce your new boyfriend to your child with autism.

What?  Doesn't everyone have to do that?

Yes, I know just a couple of weeks ago I was posting about finding love, but the joke was on me, when that very afternoon the man I had been seeing for a while decided to ask me to make it official.  I'm pretty sure he read my blog post and realized he better make a move or I was gonna keep on looking.  Who said it was a bad thing to blog about personal stuff?  Worked for me.... this time.

So in the days before the big meet and greet I tried to prepare this man for what could occur during our playdate.

1. Screaming.  Maybe a little headbanging.  Definitely some tantrum of some sort as we were going to be hanging out at Jokers (Chuck E. Cheese on Steroids).
2.  Food issues, having to figure out what to order when out and about.
3.  Language barrier.  He won't talk to you.  He probably won't even acknowledge your presence.
4.  He doesn't sleep.  Okay, this has no bearing on Joker's, but you should know it now.
5.  Did I mention there will be some sort of meltdown?

While I went on and on telling him about Brian and the difficulties that autism can cause, I realized I was doing Brian a real disservice.  I wanted to let my new man know the difficult side so he wouldn't be caught off-guard, but I wasn't telling about all the good things, like...

1.  The way his smile is so infectious.  No one can deny it.
2.  That special something that Brian has that makes anyone around him fall in love with him.
3.  The funny way that he can pull a movie quote out at just the right time ("I can fly" as he jumps from one hotel bed to the other).
4.  The intensity he has when he puts his hands on your cheeks and turns your face to him so he can look into your eyes and then plants a kiss on you. (Yes, kids with autism do look into people's eyes....when it's on their terms).
5.  The persistence he has to keep on trying when everything seems so hard for him.
6.  The way that he can find joy in the simplest pleasures, I think everyone could take a lesson from him.
7.  He is seriously the best cuddler I have ever encountered.

The list could go on and on and on.

I feel like I had good intentions when describing the hardships that come with autism.  I really wanted the meeting to go well and I felt if I prepared for the worst than whatever happened would be a piece of cake.  However, it's not fair to Brian to lead with his not-so-good points, when he has such a plethora of wonderful traits to brag and talk about.

And in the end, Brian didn't have a single meltdown while at Joker's.  He even agreed to play laser tag for the first time ever.  He didn't ask for pizza or any other glutenfied item he can't have.  He didn't scream, cry, or hit his head on anything.  He acknowledged him, later when we went swimming he even grabbed his hand and said "Come in".  He laughed, played, and had the time of his life.  He proved me wrong.  I like it when he does that.


Lana Rush said...

Good for you!  And for Brian!  It's hard to know how much to share - you want them to be prepared but you also want them to form their own impression.  Sounds like things went great... 

Dani G said...

can't believe I missed this post! I know we've touched base about it, but this is a great post to read.

I went through a similar situation and it has turned out so well. I'm so happy!!

I'm glad C and the boys seem to be a nice fit!!