Barry is my rock. We have been together since 1997 and married since 2001. I cannot imagine life without him. I have heard that up to 90% percent of marriages end in divorce when they have a child with autism. That statistic terrified me when we were first heading down this road. I get it, though. Like so many families in our situation, Barry is the breadwinner that works very hard to ensure that the financial situation around here stays afloat. A kid like Gray costs major $$$. That is stressful. And, like so many families in our situation, I have put my career on hold to make sure that things run smoothly around here while I stay on top of Gray’s therapy, doctor appointments, medication management and general case management. Out of mutual concern, we initially tried to shelter each other from our own stresses. I would try to keep all of the household/kid/autism problems to myself because I knew his job was so demanding and difficult. He would try to keep all of his job stresses from me because he knew how hard it was to run this house and Gray’s care. That wasn’t a good idea. The result left both of us feeling overburdened and resentful. One night, very shortly after Gray got his diagnosis, I brought up this issue. We agreed that it wasn’t helping either of us to shelter each other. We have always been much stronger as a unit. I remember distinctly sitting on the couch, crying over Gray’s future and Barry saying to me, “Let’s take a 3-day weekend: anywhere you want to go. Where would you like me to take you for a break?” As I wiped my tears away, all I could say was, “Vegas, please.” The grown-up equivalent of Neverland was just what I needed.
Date night every Saturday and a weekend getaway once a year ensures that we will remain best friends. I hold him in the highest regard. He is the smartest and most generous man I know.