Zoom Autism Magazine Issue12 - Page 20

scripts with me about 3 Murrays. because it was wrong. Families are people that we always love. When I was fourteen, my grandmother died after a well-fought battle with ovarian cancer. It was the hardest thing that any of us ever had to face. My mother was trying to comfort my grandfather and comfort herself. My father was trying to be strong for all of us. My sister was trying to un- derstand and grieve. I was trying not to drown in an overwhelming whirlpool of feelings. We were all having our separate struggles from the same big, scary thing that had happened, and we all leaned on each other. We were all strug- gling, but when we struggle, we struggle together. Family by Katie I do not know how to put family into words. No matter how eloquent I try to be, nothing I can say encompasses what our family is. I know the way I feel when I’m with my family, but I cannot write it down. “ When I fall, they are my safety net. When they fall, I am part of theirs.” I’ve tried. I’ve tried to explain how it’s hard but it’s easy but it’s different but it’s the same ... and each time, I ended up deleting what I had written Nothing I write can convey what that feels like. Nothing can convey the way I feel knowing that I have three beautiful people who will take some of whatever pain I feel and help me carry it. When I fall, they are my safety net. When they fall, I am part of theirs. At sixteen, I got my first job as a barista. I was so excited. I had wanted this job for so long. When I told my family, they took my joy and made it theirs. They took what I thought was the best feeling in the world, and they made it better. When I am happy, they are there to be happy with me. When they are happy, I am there for them. That’s what family is to me: sharing my pain and sharing my joy and sharing my every emotion in between. I am forever grateful that I have that. Family by Luau On the day I got married, a cousin of my dad’s pulled me aside. “Now that you’re married, young man,” he said, “I’ve got two pieces of advice for you.” Family and friends had been pulling me aside all day, telling me this and that, most of which, in the blur of the day, had gone in one ear and out the other. I took a breath and tried to focus on his words. “One,” he began, “always remember that a ‘hap- py wife is a happy life.’” I had to laugh at the simplicity of the missive. “And two,” he continued, “always remember that if someone asks you a question, your answer should always be, ‘Let me check with my wife.’” 20 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses Again, the simplicity of the advice was profound. We laughed together, gave each other a hug, and went back to the festivities. As silly as it sounds, I have tried to live my mar- riage and, by extension, my parenting this way. As seemingly simple and even funny as those two pieces of advice are, they are much more nu- anced and complex once you scratch the surface. Happiness is, at some level, a universal pursuit. Ultimately, we all want to be happy. Defining what makes us happy, as indivi duals, as part- ners, as families, as society, is the tricky part, and it is no less tricky in our family. When things are clicking, just as my cousin Teddy said, “a happy wife” and kids are truly “a happy life,” but with four unique people, it can be hard to keep every- body happy all the time. The difficulty of maintaining happiness, how- ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses 21