Tuesday Love Letter: An Open Letter To My Husband, by Rachel Fusselman

Preface: Every Tuesday, I write a love letter to my husband, Stephen. It ranges from long paragraphs to heartfelt one-sentencers to angry rants, goofy poems, and one-worded tense messages. For the most part, these weekly emails are sweet and reflect the health of our marriage. This week, I’m sharing my letter from Tuesday, March 15 2022, in honor of our autistic son Luke’s 12th birthday, which March 8.

Dear Stephen,

I’ve done some reflecting this week on our journey and the little lessons God has taught us through Luke. He is a young man now, and every day it becomes more and more evident to me that I need to shift to treating him as such. Watching the news with him lately, letting him have a sip of my beer, and having deep conversations with him about politics, morality, and the world does that to a mother. He is becoming a peer. His autism quickens the process because of his extreme intelligence. Talking to him sometimes forces me to dust off the desire I had to go to college for philosophy and apologetics. It’s inspiring. I am so proud of Luke. I am also proud of both of us.

This brings me to the biggest lesson I feel we have learned together as a married couple, my “St. Joseph.” We brought into life a unique child. Of course, raising such a child requires a one-day-at-a-time headspace from both of us. But, even in those cases, one parent is not enough. It has taken us both- day by day and sometimes hour by hour- treating each moment as if the world stops.

Thank you for stopping the world for us. Thank you for loving me even when I feel like I have nothing left to give, even if that means demanding that I take time to myself and fight the urge to keep going and going and going. Thank you for leading me away from the path of Instagram-ed, Pinterest-y “perfection” and guiding my steps instead towards the Maker who can mold me into His Image. Each time you lead me towards the surface of the storm, my head becomes clearer, and I can touch the woman I am meant to be. I realize that I am enough. I know that I am not meant to hold the world on my shoulders.

Thank you for being the voice that our son turns to. The calming, soothing voice that he needs- especially in times of autistic stress- which makes him feel trapped in his own head. It happens less often with his maturity, but the past two years of consistency (through what has felt like hell-on-earth) with your gentle guidance has led him there. He is who is he today and has come so far because of you. I don’t know what I’d do without you. You are the father he needs and deserves. There is no greater compliment than that. I love you. Congratulations on being one heck of a special needs dad for 12 years.

Love, Rachel

A native of Cajun, South Louisiana, Rachel is a wife & stay-at-home autism mom with 4 kiddos living life enthusiastically in Allen, TX.

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