This is the story of a girl who roams to a far off land and meets a brilliant, aloof prince. This girl is not a princess, nor is she perfect in every way. No this girl is broken and has sworn off charming princes forever. She comes from a land by the sea; a land full of sunshine and a sea that absorbed her salty tears with no one the wiser. She roamed to a land of clouds and cold. A land whose inhabitants were so foreign she could scarcely understand them. Then she met the prince. This prince was not charming; no in fact he was aloof at times and at others rude. He said what he thought and was honest to a fault. To be sure the prince was handsome, so handsome in fact that the girl could hardly believe he would look at this broken, gardener’s daughter. She loved this strange, honest prince. She knew he would heal her heart, this strong, brilliant prince. He asked her to marry him at the place of the magical waterfalls. People from faraway lands came to view the beautiful, powerful waters. They cheered as the girl accepted the prince’s proposal and a rainbow appeared in the sky, a good omen for everyone to see. They married and the kingdom rejoiced at their nuptials. And they lived happily ever after…..
That’s where the story always ends: and they lived happily ever after. Every school girl hears a variation of this story and longs for her handsome prince to come, she plans her extravagant wedding ceremony years before she meets the groom, she even knows how many tiers her wedding cake will be. Then the story ends. So she enters into her happily ever after expecting eternal bliss. It doesn’t matter that some naysayer may tell her that happily ever after includes lots of hard work. No they obviously had never experienced her kind of fairy tale. Her fairy tale never mentioned anything about hard work, or tears, or budgeting. So the honeymoon ends and she wakes up to the reality that her prince has some very plebeian habits like throwing his laundry on her clean floor and in my particular story the prince remains aloof and sometimes rude.
The first year of marriage is always difficult as couples adjust to living together in the state of Holy Matrimony but the first year of marriage is usually a fun adventure as well, discovering new things about each other as individuals and who you are as a couple. Usarian and I certainly had moments like these but they were few and far between. Mostly we fought about EVERYTHING. I could not understand why it bothered him so much that I would call it a grocery basket instead of a grocery cart. I certainly had no clue why I was accused of lying when I said I spent $40.00 when in actuality I spent $41.00. To compound the problem I was already broken and very naïve to top it all off. I really had no clue how men thought. I was the oldest of 8, five of whom were male but they were still little boys when I moved away. In spite it all we kept pushing on. We started a family…..boy did we start a family, five little boys of my own in four very short years. Needless to say, our already fragile bonds quickly became completely unraveled. I had no idea how to communicate with this frustrating man (he had lost his princely crown years past in my eyes). When we talked it was beyond frustrating….if I agreed with him I was patronizing him, if I argued I was being argumentative and when I didn’t say anything I was being uncommunicative. I finally just gave up trying. For five years I just didn’t talk to him at all unless it was about the mundane or the unavoidable. Many people find this hard to believe but it wasn’t as hard as you would think. He worked 65 to 70 hours a week plus had an hour commute each way and I had five babies 4 and under. We just co-existed. Then God intervened. Our son Jamie was diagnosed as autistic. I began researching everything I could on autism. I learned about Aspbergers. At the same time our oldest son Paul entered Kindergarten. This brilliant child (and I mean that in a very literal sense) could not function at all in a classroom setting. He began the process of diagnosis and sure enough there was absolutely NO DOUBT he was on the spectrum. He has Aspbergers. Paul is Usarian’s mental clone. It didn’t take long for us to realize Usarian was also an Aspie. The doctor confirmed our suspicions. Suddenly so much of his life that had not made any sense added up. I began to use the communication techniques I learned to communicate with my boys on him. Whalla things began to improve. In all of this I found the one who changed the most was me. My young girl fantasies of marriage and my husband grew up into the real life relationship of a woman and her husband. Believe me it was not instant, nor was it easy. I didn’t want to change. But God is so faithful in our weakness. He step by step moved us forward to a much more peaceful, happy home. This is not to say that all is perfect in the Kingdom of Skiff. Indeed last night is a perfect example. I was hurt over some pretty insignificant things and I lost my temper. When thinking about it this morning I remembered our whole journey and just how far we have come. As the saying goes, it is important to remember lest we forget. So I decided to share a little glimpse of our marriage journey. It is most certainly not the fairytale at the beginning of this post but something so much better, so much richer. I love you Usarian. Thanks for the journey.