For twenty-seven brutally joyful years we faced something normal families simply cannot imagine: Autism.
The Sesame Street characters are Greg's brothers and sisters. Adam is his other (real) brother. Over the years, many educators encouraged us to abandon Bert and Ernie.
"Greg perseverates on them, Martha. You need to cut the cord and get him on age-appropriate activities."
We tried and failed. When--at the age of four--Greg started drawing his "friends", we saw that he needed his guys. They talked to him. They were his communicators.
Today--at the age of twenty-seven--Greg sits with my I Pad, watches old clips and new, laughs and sings along with his dad, my husband Jay. We realize that in many ways, Greg will never be "age-appropriate," and that is fine with us.
We characterize our life in three stages:
The Grand College Years
Jay and I had few cares other than which bar to go to and what time to wake up for classes that we could schedule for noon or beyond.
The Infertility Years at which time I endured four surgeries, countless hours in fertility specialists' offices and harsh realizations that we might never conceive and enjoy the family moments that made us happy children.
The autism years. We hid the reality of this part of our lives so well that friends and family members now approach us to say, "We had no idea," or, "We can't believe you and Jay aren't divorced!" With Jay's and Adam's help, we raised our special child to become happy and productive.