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Autism: New Relationships

02 Mar

It was a sunny, warm day in August. I had decided to take my son to the beach. The road was twisty and turny, and in some parts was so close to the lake, that I feared falling in. I had only been driving for about a year at that point, and that road, above all others that I traveled, made me very nervous.

Yet I had this child, just five years old, and I wanted to give him pleasant childhood experiences. We lived far from home. Far from all of our family, and we were alone – just him and me. So despite my fears – of the drive, of the crowds, of any of the numerous things that could happen – I decided to take him to the beach.

At five years of age, my son didn’t much like water. He would wade along the shore, but he would not go in. So we spent a lot of that afternoon walking on the rocky beach, and picking up “treasures” every once in a while. He would look at the rocks, look at the sticks, and then put them back down or throw them into the water.

After a while, a man from our church (we had only been attending for about a year) came up to us. He began talking, and walking along the beach with us. What I liked about this man was how he would talk, and talk, and never seemed to expect me to participate in the conversation. We may have walked along together for about an hour before he returned to his family (who were there for a picnic.)

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This man had a head full of facts, and most of the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. What I did notice was the lack of nervousness I felt. It was as if he had no expectations of me. No need for me to share, or talk, or do anything but walk and listen. So I did. Even my son seemed at ease, and he didn’t much like strangers. He still doesn’t.

Much as I enjoyed that day, it never occurred to me… it never even crossed my mind, that this was the man I was to marry. What I did know was that I was not anxious with him. And that was a big deal for me.

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