I just got done reading “Mozart and the Whale–An Asperger’s Love Story“, written by Jerry and Mary Newport with Johnny Dodd. Of course this book caught my eye because as a mother with a child on the spectrum I desperately want to get any insight I can into how it is possible for my child to find a loving relationship. It’s definitely a mystery, how a person who has trouble picking up social cues or communicating in a ‘socially acceptable’ way could possibly connect with someone on a romantic level. I’ve often joked around about how when Scout gets older he’ll just have to tell the girls he meets and wants to date that even though he really likes them he probably won’t call them, they will have to be the ones to do the calling!
My biggest fear is that Scout will end up lonely–he really is a snuggle-bug and thrives on the loving relationship we have. Because of that I can’t imagine that really happening…but at the same time, some lucky woman will have to be pretty tolerant of a messy house, someone who may be lost in a book all day instead of having a conversation, or when there is conversation, she’ll have to work pretty hard at getting through the random facts.
With chapters going from Jerry to Mary’s point of view in different stages of their relationship, ‘Mozart and the Whale’ definitely gives you a window into their difficult, amazing, whimsical and inspirational lives both apart and together. The fact that these two found each other is really a miracle. Once they did get together there was a lot of pressure from the public for them to be the poster couple of autism, which definitely put a strain on their relationship.
“If they get married at all, and if it is a good marriage, it will only happen after they learn to love and accept themselves first.” Jerry says this toward the end of the book, and it’s oh so true…he and Mary had so many struggles in their marriage because they were so bogged down from the pain and insecurities of their younger days. Just another example of how it’s so important to do all we can to empower our children to feel good about themselves, to accept them as they are and to love them not only despite their warts, but because of them. I also loved this passage from Jerry, which came after he wrote that Aspies are never going to fit into the so-called normal world:
“You can deny this fact all you want. You can pretend it doesn’t hold true for you or your child. But sooner or later, you’ll have to accept it. And the funny thing is, once you do that, something magical happens deep inside you. You start to accept who it is you really are. And you begin to forge a friendship with the most special, wonderful person you can ever meet–yourself.”
What wonderful words! I highly recommend this book. It was made into a movie in 2005, but I haven’t seen it. Have you? If so, what did you think of it?