My husband has two good t-shirts. Not because we are poor and can't buy him more. But because he has bit through the collar of every single t-shirt he owns. There are gaping holes where he has gnawed the fabric down to nothing. Every now and then I'll throw one away without him knowing. There are things about my husband many people don't know. The fact that he has Autism is one of those things. Our little Rowen is a living replicate of Dan.  I've heard people call him weird, or strange, or awkward. And I understand why. 

Living with my husband is weird and crazy and awesome and stressful and amazing. Just like young autistic children stem, Dan has his own coping ways. He paces. He paces so much sometimes when we talk that I get dizzy and either have to ask him to sit down or I stare out of the window until I know he's done. He now uses an app that counts his steps and that gives him such a fulfilling feeling. He walks what seems like 25 miles a day because of that pacing. I'll spend five minutes straight talking to him about something important, only to realize he has been in what I call "real estate land", processing how his client is going to get approved for the house they want. So I have to start all over again as he promises to listen this time. He quietly unhooks me from the breast pump when I've fallen asleep while pumping, and then he puts me to bed. He has to watch his temper and what he says outloud when he's angry, because sometimes his filter doesn't work like a normal person. But he never yells at our children or me. He holds it inside and usually blames himself for everything. Life with Dan isn't easy, sure, but let me tell you a few other things you don't know about my Autistic hubby.

He makes dinner for me every night. And then he gets up and brings me second's while I lay in front of the tv watching our favorite Star Trek episodes. And then he makes me dessert.  He pumps the gas in all of our vehicles so I don't have to, and he scrubs the windshield so I can see through it better. He comes home early when a kid is sick.  He draws me a hot bath and then locks me in our bedroom and makes me promise I'll stay there for at least an hour so I can have "me" time, even when I swear I don't need it. But he knows better. He makes the kids breakfast before he goes to work. He called me up and cried after reading how I was bullied as a child, and told me he was sorry a dozen times for what happened to me. He surprises me with donuts after a hard day. He holds me when I'm sad and gives me a body massage before bed.  He never complains about my gained baby weight, but tells me I'm "curvy" and that I'm irresistable. He jumps up to save our baby when she's dangling from the stairs and giggling. He has a respect and sincere love for mankind and strives to make sure everyone around him is happy. He snuggles the kids at night until they all fall asleep.  I find him asleep next to the baby, both of them sleeping soflty, her little hands on his rough, rugged face. She doesn't care that he hasn't shaved. Sometimes I just stare at them like that and wonder how on earth I managed such an amazing human as my husband. God must have sprinkled him with love and sincerety and honor and responsibility and forgiveness. He is ALL of those things. Autism doesn't change any of that.

When I look at my husband, I see a man struggling with accepting himself, with accepting his little quirks and faults, and with loving himself anyway.  I see a man who would die for his children, who can't stand the thought of his children suffering. And I see a man who, one day, will meet the Savior face to face, and finally see himself in all his glory and all that he truly is. Without the Autistic hiccups and strange personality quirks. He'll someday be made whole and not have to struggle with accepting himself.

So next time you see him pacing in the hallway or mumbling to himself, remember this post. Remember that under all the strangeness and awkwardness, there is a loving, forgiving man who is doing his best, who loves God and his family and  the Lord.  
And no Autism can take that away.

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