A fear a lot of parents do have about their autistic children whether or not they will find someone who will love and accept them for who they are. Yes, it can happen. My husband and I met a year after I escaped home and have been together ever since. 16 years ago, Nick and I got married and about 20 years ago we first got together.
Escaping Home and Dating
I used going away to college as a means of escape from home. I dated a few guys in the year before I met Nick. It was ingrained in my head to find a “nice Jewish boy” and being in upstate NY, there weren’t that many Jewish guys to choose from. Since I was a teen, I vowed I would not have sex before marriage. It was not for religious reasons but my best friend’s sister had a lot of trouble from being a single parent and I did not want to deal with it. I wanted to keep my life simple.
Unfortunately the people I dated could not deal with that so I remained by myself. Keep in mind this is before I knew I was autistic. Once they found out I wouldn’t sleep with them, they broke up with me. Thats it. It was their loss and at least I was nota at home.
A Trip to Remember
One day I was going upstairs in the dorm to visit a friend from Hillel, a jewish organization on campus, and I tripped on the stairs. It was not just the stairs. There was a guy crying because his ex girlfriend really messed with his head. I gave him my number if he needed a friend. Then after I spoke to him, I went to visit a friend.
Traveling in the Same Circles
The guy who was upset was Nick. We got to talking and my roommate knew we would end up together before we did. He lived in the dorm room right above mine. We would communicate through my ceiling and his floor using morse code. After a while, we figured out that we had a lot of common friends. We played in a table top role playing game together and really got to know each other. He thought my hearing aids were cute (I thought that was a little weird to be honest but to each their own).
First Date to Remember
Soon after this game, he asked me on our first date. He picked me up from my dorm room and brought me a rose. One problem with that. I am allergic to roses. I was not going to advertise that I was allergic to roses to everyone I ever dated and we spent our first date in the emergency room. I thought he would never want to see me again. Then we spent more time together.
Meeting the Family
Soon after our hospital date he asked me to accompany him to his mother’s house an hour away. He used the excuse that I had a learners permit but the law in NY anyone with a learner permit cannot drive after 9pm.
Her house was an hour away from school. We had to drive around a mountain in order to get to her house. I grew up on Long Island so driving through the Adirondack mountains was something different. When we got there, he brought me into the field behind her house. I had never seen so many stars in the sky before in MY LIFE. It was beautiful. This is a moment I will never forget.
After we looked at the stars, he brought me inside to his mom’s house. He first brought me in and said to his mom “I can see clear over the top of your head.” He looked at his mom and then looked at me. His mom was laughing and the first thing she ever said to me,”Go ahead, slap him.” She is an Italian mom so fo course she was joking.
After that, Nick’s sister, B’s mom was 11. She locked Nick in her closet so he couldn’t go back to school. She missed her brother.
About a month later after this, Nick proposed to me. We had 2 year engagement. Soon after he proposed to me, he got me a job in a grocery store he worked at. I had worked at one for my entire time in high school so it wasn’t hard to get hired. One day I was training and I lifted nick to reach something on a pallet and the manager said “which isle are you two getting married in?” Everyone laughed.
Being Accepted into My Real Family
After getting to know Nick’s mom, I never called her by her first name, she was always mom. She was the one who showed me how a mother is supposed to love. She had told my parents off more times than I care to admit. I never knew what a loving family was. I never had good memories about my childhood.
We had a 4 year engagement while we got our finances in order. Nick wanted to wear orange at our wedding because that is his favorite color so he did it in a way where he looked real good in it. We really let our personalities show. He is from a catholic background but doesn’t like religion. I am jewish. We mesh both cultures together at home really well. At the wedding we had a Rabbi that specialized in interfaith weddings. Unfortunately there was only one priest that was willing to co officiate. His father was Jewish. We would run into him in town buying challah (Jewish egg bread for those who don’t know). He would always say to us,”You think I was a gentile with a nose like this?” We knew he was kidding when he said that. The only problem the weekend we were getting married, he was out of town.
Anyway, the Rabbi came from Brooklyn, which is a 6 hour drive. She included some catholic parts as well as the Jewish parts. She did a fabulous job and so grateful to her.
This was a great start to something beautiful. We have our ups and downs but I swear we were made for each other. We come from such different backgrounds but compliment each other so well. Autistics can get married and it can be a beautiful thing. Parents don’t you worry, if your child is meant to find someone they will.