Our Relationship: a Tickle Fight and a Maybe

It all started with a maybe.

And a tickle fight.

That just about sums up how my relationship with my husband started.

Our Relationship - The Beginning

You see, we knew each other in high school but I was in a different relationship during my high school years. Some of my evenings would be spent at his house with the guys playing video games and Magic the Gathering, eating pizza, staying up late. It was a great friendship. I enjoyed the times at his place and the nerd atmosphere which was lacking at school and home.

Our relationship - Not afraid of dirt

My high school relationship was going great and my future husband sadly got little notice from me other than as a friend. But one day, my relationship just… ended. It was mutual but it still sucked. It was around that time my husband started hitting on me, not that I realized it. I’m really bad at taking hints. (My husband would LOVE to emphasize that point!)

View from our favorite place

Since it was my victory lap, I was in less classes than usual and had lots of free time. My future husband was actually in his first year of college at this point and so he had some time of his own. So we hung out even more with the guys. I started hanging out with them more and more, and not just on the late nights but day outings as well. Until one day, our communal best friend Brian couldn’t make it to a planned video game night. I was alone with my future husband but still as oblivious as ever.

Our Relationship - Moving On OutThe night started as usual. Some gaming, some laughter, some food. After a while we were getting quite competitive in a game, Forza in fact, and started sabotaging each other. You know, throwing pillows at the controller, blocking the others view, pushing the other around trying to mess up their controls. And we ended up tickling each other in an attempt to win.

Our relationship - Volunteering at 7am

But, close contact like that with all the associated laughter, tend to make you reflect on how close you actually are to someone. So he chose that time to say “Do you think you and I could…” I was caught a bit off guard, I mean, I was not planning on starting a relationship just months before heading away to university. So I replied with “Maybe.

Our relationship - PaintballingYup, the last thing anyone wants to hear. It is probably even worse than a no since the person has literally no idea what is going through your mind! But that is all I gave him.

His reaction…

He kissed me.

He won that tickle fight. With a tender kiss and an evening of laughter, he won me over.

So that is it. That is how my relationship with my husband started. With a tickle fight and a maybe.

—–

How did your relationship start? Did you commit fully or give a maybe to start things off? I’d love to hear other people experiences but no matter what,

I am glad that this story…is mine ours!

A letter to myself

A common school-age activities is writing a letter to one’s future self. An interesting activity. When writing you question if you will ever actually see the letter again, if it will mean anything to you in the future, and whether your grade will be good enough (if the activity is marked).

A letter to younger self

I wrote such a letter back in 2002 and want to share it with you, as well as my response to the letter. Note, the pictures are from my elementary school days except the family photo, I wanted to keep everything within the age range of the original letter.

Dear Emily Marie,

June, 21, 2002

I’m doing well in school this year. My teacher is Mr. B. I’m in grade five. There is 2 ½ more days of school. My favorite subject is language, because I love to read and write. My least favorite subject is math. Yuck! I can’t wait until summer.

I’ve been enjoying taking my brother to the park. We have been getting along great. I’m going to take him to the park again.

Lately I’ve been hanging out with Jessica, Caitlyn, Denise and Hillary in school. Out of school I hang with my family.

I have a few questions for you. They are: How are you? How’s your family?

Sincerely Emily

P.S. I heard about your grand dad. I feel sorry for you.

Writing letters to yourself

Dear little me,

Wow, I still write in the same blocky style as you! I like it. Easy to read. But I can see that you got bored after writing slowly for a whole 30 seconds. I do the same. Then it’s time for more random styles like the second half of your letter.

A letter to future myself

Holy cow, my favorite subjects is an interesting topic because just this year my jobs changed all that! It is true, I still love reading and writing and I thought whatever career I took would involve those things. But I also learned that I like how math can be used, there is just so much it can do! I worked both a math job and a reading/writing based job and the math one was my favorite by a long shot! So sorry little me…but the math is here to stay!

How interesting, I literally wrote about our little brother and his autism just last week. Thanks for writing about taking him to the park, I know how important that is to you! It was always so difficult to connect with him when we were kids. He would get confused by something I did and I would be confused by his negative response. Quality time with him was hard to come by, and I am so grateful you captured this time in your letter.

A letter to myself - quirky

As for friends, well I am glad you mentioned them too. These are the outcast group I would hang out with in elementary school but unfortunately I do not have contact with many of them anymore. Just Cait. I hope they all still keep their quirks, I know Cait rocks hers!

Now onto your questions. I am doing very well. I am nearly done school (thank gosh!) and have just cleared up some health problems (and no, not bronchitis little me, you got rid of that problem years ago). As for my family, well it has changed a lot since your letter. Mom and dad split up a while ago now. That was hard. But dad met a nice woman and now I have a step-family in the mix with lots of extra brothers and sisters (even a baby niece!). As for mom, she and gran are living it up in a nice new house but don’t worry, they have our little brother and some kitties to keep them company! A shock for you is that I moved away from the family, all the way to Ottawa. But that is a topic for another day.

A letter to myself - family is a constant

P.S. Losing papa (grand dad) was hard for you, but unfortunately we also lost grandpa several years after that. Both gramma and grannie are still here though and I will be sure to talk to them soon to remind them how much we love them! Plus, mom found her birth parents so there is technically another set of grandparents which you probably couldn’t imagine at your young age!

Thanks for the letter little Emily and I wish future Emily all the best!

Dear younger self

 

My brother is my hero

I have a memory of a young damsel in distress being saved by prince charming, or rather, my dorky self being rescued by my younger brother.

Brother and I with teletubbies as children

Every winter, my siblings and I would make a kind of tobogganing course in our yard. One year, we made an especially slick hill in the front yard right beside the driveway, great idea…or not. My brother and I were tobogganing away on this hill and it was my turn. But instead of sliding to the yard, the slickness sent me straight onto the driveway. I slid in such a way that my toboggan got stuck and I couldn’t get out!

Me Snowshoeing

As if on cue, dad pulled into the driveway with his little hatchback literally the second I got stuck. I thought I was going to get hit by the car!

But little brother to the rescue! While at the top of the hill he reached down, grabbed the top of the toboggan, and pushed it until I dislodged. I was able to scramble away before the car got close and I was super relieved. In my journal the next day, and at school for several years, I called my brother my hero for that very act of moving that toboggan. It seems a little silly looking back now, but I still thank my brother for it, and it is a memory we will always share because in that moment his actions meant everything!

Drawing from brother to me

So that’s a cute little story, a childhood reflection, but there some things I want to clarify. One, my little brother has autism. Two, my little brother (now quite tall!) is still my hero just for different reasons.

A drawing of my brother, by meSo my brother has autism. This can mean different things for different people but for him it comes down to:

  • Uneasiness or confusion in social situations
  • Sensory issues (his hugs are vise grips)
  • Certain types of communication difficulties
  • And some subtler things that are common with autism

Unfortunately, since autism is a classified as a developmental disability, some people look down on my brother, or don’t expect him to succeed. And this leads to why he is still my hero and that is because he defies all the negative expectations people apply to him based on his disability.

 

When my brother started high school, the administration said to aim for the OSSC or Ontario Secondary School Certificate rather than the full Diploma. What the OSSC would mean is fewer class requirements, no community service requirement, and no literacy test requirement. This didn’t sit well with him or the family. So, he made sure graduate with a Diploma and no less when he walked out of that school this year.

The high school also suggested that he stay in the school until age 25. My brother DID NOT like that option. He didn’t enjoy school as it was. He would rather be working on something outdoorsy or hands-on. Or helping family and friends Being in school until 25 would rob him of those freedoms. (He made it out by 18).

Mechanic - Brown 2

Via Geri-Jean Blanchard (FreeImages.com)

Some people question his ability to go to college and while he is not there yet, he plans to go to college to become a mechanic. He spends a lot of time tinkering with the family vehicles and is even working in a dealership autoshop to get some real experience.

Speaking of vehicles, mom was unsure about letting him work on her car, especially alone. But late one night her car needed a rushed headlight change, and dear brother was the only one available to fix it, so she let him. And low and behold the headlights were fixed in no time and when she double checked the work at the shop, they said all was done right!

So thanks to my little (yet not so little) brother for saving my life on that cold winter day so many years ago, for being my hero growing up, and continuing to be my hero today by proving you can do whatever you want to even with autism (no matter what other people may say).

To learn more about Autism, I suggest visiting AutismOntario.ca. Once upon a time I did some workshops there specifically designed for siblings of autistic people. They helped me understand what my brother goes through on a regular basis and helped me figure out my place in the family.