Nineteen Years Later

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Yesterday was our nineteenth anniversary. It felt two parts lovely to be married to my Jeff and look at my lovely children and go to church. It felt four parts sheer lameness as we cleaned up the sheetrock from the holes Jack has bashed in the walls of his bedroom and the insulation he pulled from the holes.

Before church, Jack dragged the fan in from the mulch pile by the deck where he tossed it a few days ago, and plugged it in, sending a layer of grass, dried leaves, and dirt all over my bedroom floor. He tried to pull the TV from its wall mount. He tossed all the blankets from his bed over the stair railing and into the entry. He stuffed shredded wrappers beneath the couch cushions. He tossed toothbrushes from his bedroom window. He removed the screen from Jeff’s office window and broke the metal frame into pieces.

The naughtiness was so calculated and relentless, I thought it must have been another illness. Jack is the naughtiest when he doesn’t feel well. And he had literally just finished yet another course of antibiotics for yet another ear infection. (Insert sad/frustrated face emojis). Sundays for Jack are the absolute worst. He seems to always be sick. We don’t like taking him in to be seen on weekends because it’s some random on-call doctor who doesn’t know anything about him or us. Jack is complicated.

At some point in the afternoon, Jack fell asleep on the beanbags in the basement. When Jack takes a weekend nap, it is the best gift that anyone could ever give me. When Jack sleeps, the entire household sighs peacefully. Jeff and I curled up for a nap of our own—the highlight of the day. If Jack napped for three hours a day every day, I think I could handle basically anything. Siestas should be part of our culture. The end.

Also, being married for nineteen years means that you are basically old people. I was nineteen years old when I met Jeff, for Pete’s sake. For the record, I was twenty when we got married, but only just. NINETEEN YEARS, people. It’s a long time, and yet it also moves faster than you think. It’s true what people say about time speeding up, and I blame children.


People have been asking how I feel about Truman’s diagnosis. Honestly, I feel pretty good. I already knew it, at a semi-conscious level. I’ve been processing it for a year or more. I believe I have accepted it.

Truman is, like all people, complicated. He is easy and wonderful in some aspects, and really difficult and frustrating in other areas. He’s Truman. It’s all good. We will get him the help he needs and move forward.

It takes some coaxing to get Truman to eat food. There is screaming at times. We sometimes have to talk Charlie down off a figurative cliff when he spins out and obsesses about things like light sabers. But this sort of daily autism stuff isn’t Jack.

My real challenge remains the same. Because of the nature of his disabilities, Jack remains the most time-intensive kid and the most destructive force in our home. It will probably always be this way. Other issues crop up, but they do not supersede Jack knocking holes in walls and pulling out handfuls of insulation to spread to the four winds.

My friend Shirley sat by me in Relief Society yesterday and I told her all about the walls and the destruction. I can tell her the complete truth because she listens without acting horrified. She hugged me and said, “I wish there was something I could do for you besides pray for you.” But her hug and her prayers and the fact that she will listen without trying to solve the unsolvable are really the best kind of help. I need understanding and I need friendship. I have both. I have lots of both.




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