Recently, a story broke in California that concerns all families with children on the autism spectrum. A family in Sunnyvale, California is being sued by their neighbors stemming from incidents involving their 9-year-old son with autism spectrum disorder. According to the families, the incidents started when the child, not named in any news media, started going into other’s homes and taking food. It culminated with an alleged assault on a three year old neighbor.
When you are married to a military man, there are two things that are an absolute certainty. The first is Temporary DutY (or TDYs) and the second is deployments. Military families deal with constant family separation, whether it’s geo-baching (when the service member is stationed in one location and the spouse stays in another), constant deployments, and TDYs. My husband in particular has not been deployed as much as many of his contemporaries, but when he doesn’t deploy, he makes up for it with constant TDYs. When I first left the military in 2004, he was rarely gone, but as soon as he pinned on Major, it became apparent that my home was wherever the base was, and his home was the Holiday Inn Express at any number of other bases.
I have had to explain death to my children. The first deaths were our dogs. Death was a vague concept for my children for a long time. They thought only their old great-grandparents died; people in their 80s and 90s, who had lived long, full lives. This summer, my father died at 76. His death was hard on me because, even though I know death is inevitable, I felt his was still so many years away. My kids understood that Grandpa died, and that was a part of life - that death is a natural part of living. Never in a million years would I ever imagine explaining murder to my kids, especially explaining to my children the murder of someone who was close to them.
About two months ago, my father died. I know that at the ripe old age of 76, he had a long and full life. He raised two children, lived his dreams of owning a business, lived near the happiest place on Earth, and was so very proud of his children and grandchildren. He lived a fulfilling life, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if he had not suffered from conditions related to morbid obesity.
Jodi Vetter is a 38-year old aspiring author. She has been published in "Chicken Soup For Soul: Raising a Child on The Autism Spectrum,” has her own blog, and has poetry published in the College of St. Scholastica writer's publication. Jodi also has had several freelance articles published throughout the military spouse community, and is currently working on a science fiction novel called, "Invasion.” She has two children (Ryan and Sophie), is a military spouse and proud Air Force Veteran. She has tried many modes of employment from selling Mary Kay to writing to being in the military, and has even dabbled in Wine Tasting. Keep up to date with all of Jodi's adventures on Facebook.