Tuesday, June 11, 2013
On my way to Saturday's game, I hadn't even made it out of my neighborhood when I started getting angry text messages from Stu: "He's already having a fit and pissing me off." "I HATE this."
Stu has had it up to here with my derby schedule. The events that clutter our calendar. The practices and bouts that keep me away from home at bedtime, when Ryan is most challenging to keep under control.
I apologized again, thanked him again, told him to bring Ryan to the sports center and let him run around on the indoor soccer field before the game.
Ryan happily shadows my team's warm-ups, trying to follow along with our routine. My teammates are all wearing autism awareness patches, courtesy of a new sponsor. I note the peculiarly autistic way Ryan enjoys our exercises, stimming on us running from one edge of his peripheral vision to the other.
Stu says Ryan's a totally different kid when I'm not around. I'm sure he is, but I've obviously never seen that kid. He looks pretty content to me, except for the occasional freak-out over a bag of sand that's too heavy for him to move; I don't know why he thinks he needs to move the bag of sand, but I've stopped expecting answers to those sorts of questions.
I trace the edge of the patch on my jersey and shift my eyes from Ryan, walking the edge of the field between the wall and a soccer goal, to the typical kids playing together in the middle of the turf, and back again. Someday this sight won't hurt, I think to myself; it already hurts so much less than it used to.
The game begins. I look into the crowd and see Stu and Ryan in the bleachers, eating ice cream. I see my friend Niki and her daughters sitting near them. Everything looks under control. I wave as I skate past during skater introductions.
At halftime Stu gives me the death glare. It seems Evil Ryan has emerged in my absence and given Stu a hard time. He keeps muttering, "I'm done. I'm done." He says he wants to leave without Ryan and go home. I tell him to take a walk and just let Ryan play with Niki's kids for a while. He heads for the door and I think I hear him say something about going home.
I tell Niki she's in charge and I skate back to my bench.
I fiddle with the patch on my jersey and try to get my head back in the game. I avoid saying too much to my teammates. Throughout the second half I keep looking around the crowd for Ryan, and to see if Stu has returned. As we take our consolation lap around the track (in derby, even the losers get high-5s from the crowd), I see no sign of Stu, Niki, or any of the kids. I wonder if our marriage has reached the point where I have to choose between Stu and roller derby.
Turns out they were in the building. All of them. And back at our house all 3 kids were bouncing on the couch past 11pm.
And Stu and I have not spoken about it since.
But I am Aware.This is part of our Autism. I skate to escape, but the further I get from responsibility, the more it piles on Stu.
Time to find a good babysitter.