Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 2 - Page 26

“When I’m (John’s expression) ‘Yogified,’ I take things in stride. If I’m not taking care of myself, I’m not so great at being mellow and understanding.” lotherian (lover of animals), Phytophilous (loves plants), Nemophilist (loves the woods), and Rockhound (one who collects rocks). Zoom: Tell us how the love story began. How did you meet John, and was it love at first sight? Maripat: John and I met when I called on his business for the business magazine I owned. I describe that first meeting on my blog I Married a Geek (Begin at the Beginning). It wasn’t love at first sight because we were both married. John fascinated me because I love people who are “different.” We were friends for a couple of decades before circumstances had both of us single at the same time and John asked me out. Zoom: Did you know about autism and Asperger’s before John? Maripat: No, but I knew about epilepsy, ADHD, and IEPs because two of my kids were neuro-diverse, so it was easy to comprehend the spectrum and what people might be going through. Zoom: Blending a family is not easy. How did you two make it work? Maripat: Early on, John talked about how he’d observed that the trouble in blended families starts when you don’t treat the kids equally, and we strive to do that. It’s so important to be generous and have an open heart. When all else fails, let your conscience be your guide, and just do the right thing. Zoom: Tell us something that not everyone knows about John but that you think is kind of cool. Maripat: He LOVES mowing the lawn, wields a mighty chainsaw, and uses our big tractor to plow the snow off our street (and some neighbors’ driveways) in winter. He does that because he’s geeked out with the machines and is also a really nice guy. Maripat, John and Margaret (John’s mother) 26 Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses Two years ago we had a freak blizzard on Halloween. Because the trees were still leafed out, many came down, blocking a linking road that the whole town uses. John and Julian (Maripat’s son) suited up, went out for hours and cleared the road by themselves. What’s more, when a man living on the street came out and offered John another chain saw to use, John didn’t even yell at him. He just asked the guy, “Don’t you