Zoom Autism Magazine Issue12 - Page 16

The Editor’s Note: In every issue, we try to choose a cover story that goes along with the general WILSON FAMILY theme. When we decided to tackle the subject of support, Jess Wilson, from the popular blog and Facebook page Diary of a Mom, and her family immediately came to mind. We cannot think of a group of people that represents this theme better than the Wilson Family. The ironic thing is that we never mentioned to Jess the actual theme. We simply asked her, *Luau* her husband and their two beauti- ful daughters, *Katie* (as her mother describes her, “an utterly fabulous, compassionate, generous, creative, loving sixteen-year-old high school sophomore”) and *Brook*(as Jess says, “an affectionate, talented, hilarious, fourteen-year-old autistic eighth grader), if they would share with us what FAM- ILY means to them. We had an inkling that what they would say would encompass a sense of love and support for one another. As you will see, we were right! *Jess does not use her husband’s or daughters’ real names on her blog and Facebook page* Family by Jess WILson M y parents divorced when I was a kid, younger than both of my daughters are now. As their marriage disintegrated, patience grew thin. The con- stant tension in the house was combustible, and in the very worst moments, my dad, with his anger threatening to turn to rage, would get into his car and drive away. I knew, once I heard his tires churning up the stones in the driveway, then squealing onto the pavement of the road, that he was gone—off into the night. Facing whatever comes next with grace, humor and each other! 16 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses He never left for more than a few hours. My entire child- hood, he only stayed away from home for two nights that I remember—the only business trip he ever took. He was solid. He was permanent. He was and is the most trustworthy human being I’ve ever known, and yet, each time I heard those tires squeal, I wondered, terri- fied, if he was coming back. One day, he picked me up and sat me down on the counter in our kitchen. “Jessie,” he said, “I need you to know something.” With him standing and my little peanut-of-a-self sitting on the counter, we were nearly eye to eye. I watched his grey-blue eyes fill with tears and his entire being vibrate with something that I would, many years later, recognize as the overwhelming love for one’s child. “I need you to know,” he said, his voice trembling with tenuously bridled emotion, “that I will always be back for you.” I was too overwhelmed to speak. The intensity of the moment hasn’t faded in the thirty-five years since. I waited in the uncertain silence. I knew he had more to say. “Things between your mother and me haven’t been easy lately,” he said. “You know that. And sometimes I get angry and I need to walk away. At some point, I might even leave for a night or two. (He never did.) But you need to understand ….” He grabbed my shoulders and clenched his jaw to fight the tears. I watched the vein in his temple throb. I had to look away from his eyes. What I found in them was too much, too big. “I need you to understand that no matter what happens, I will always be back for you,” he said. “You hear me, kiddo?” He looked straight into my eyes as he continued, slowly, deliber- ately, “I. Will. Always. Be. Back. For. You.” We hugged. He cried. I cried. We hugged again. I promised that I’d really heard him. I told him that I understood. We had a sacred ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses 17