He asked me. We’re dating.

     November 15th is an important day in our household.

     Next to Veterans Day (the 11th—my husband is a navy veteran), November 15th is a day of reckoning of sorts, a celebration that signifies an achievement: for the past eight months two people, through no fault of their own, have had to embrace each other not with their arms but with their words and a shared love of movies. Through conversations, video games and simultaneous video viewing, two young adults with autism endeavor to maintain their relationship.
     On November 15th of last year, my daughter was eating lunch with her male friend, as they had for many Fridays. I had dropped her off as usual, but this day would prove to be different. A text at 1:56 p.m.:

This was unexpected. But XXXX’s my boyfriend now. He asked me. We’re dating.

     Thus, our world would be forever changed. She would experience days of euphoria mixed with days of angst, especially when her now-boyfriend failed to reply to her text right away. The reasons would always turn out to be reasonable, but I must admit if texting technology had been available when I was dating, I would have been equally angst-ridden.
     They met for lunch every Friday (and other days when both of them were available), and I would drop her off at a restaurant and pick them up afterward so that they could shop or go bowling. Sometimes I dropped her off at the cinema and they would walk to a restaurant after the movie, allowing me to return home before leaving again to pick them up.

     At least once a week my daughter asks me when the pandemic will be over, and I cannot give her an answer. Because my husband’s immune system is now weakened and we are not sure when it will strengthen, my daughter and her boyfriend must continue to social distance and wear masks. Her boyfriend lives in a household where everyone has a job and some freely visit friends, so we must still take precautions.
     But I am determined to make their first anniversary special.

I guess I have to draw the line somewhere!

     I will make sure there are plenty of flameless candles on the table and some Italian music (my daughter loves it) playing softly in the background. I am making spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread and salad. And for dessert? cheesecake (I am undecided on whether I will make it or buy it!). I will use the pretty glasses for iced tea and set the table as beautifully as I can, with a nice tablecloth and napkins (and even a bell to ring for service!).    
     Am I going overboard? Hardly. I have witnessed all too often my daughter’s anxiety. My reassurances eventually calm her, but I can count on repeat episodes as long as the pandemic exists.
     I can’t control her reaction to such a prolonged separation from her boyfriend, but I can control the plans for their anniversary.
     I hope she likes it!

Feature image by 953968 from Pixabay 
Butterfly image by Ronny Overhate from Pixabay 
Woman’s hand with phone image by StockSnap from Pixabay 
Italian musicians image by Michelle Maria from Pixabay 
Question mark image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

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