I knew I had come across that one in a million when not long after we had started going out (I think I am still young enough to use this term. Just.) when he offered to take Joseph to the playground opposite and give me half an hour’s break. He knew that a half an hour’s peace actually meant fucking everything at that stage.
Still does if I’m honest.
But if that wasn’t enough to convince me he was a keeper, it was what followed next. I was dreamily looking out of the window staring at the picturesque view with my brew beside me, when I noticed them wandering back up the field. I looked at my watch and thought ‘for fuck’s sake, has half an hour gone that quickly?’ realised it had only been about fifteen minutes and then quickly switched my thoughts to ‘for fuck’s sake, what the fuck could have gone wrong?’
As their outlines became clearer, I realised The Keeper was carrying something in his hand.
And when I say shit, I mean exactly that. Joseph had shouted ‘TOILET’ and as he was still averse to using the toilet consistently, it was risky to ask him to hold on. So The Keeper made the decision to let him go in a discreet corner and then wiped his arse with his pants. Joseph’s that is, not his own.
And he just took this in his stride. I would like to say I was a little mortified but I actually pissed myself at the situation and he, as usual didn’t mind. If it was a test, he passed and he passed with magnificent flying colours. How many blokes would do this for their own children, least of own someone else’s? And for a boy, size wise who looked like he should have stopped shitting himself at least two years previously.
Women are often referred to as having baggage if they have a failed relationship and any children in tow. I considered how difficult it may be for me to form a relationship with someone else and expect them to endure everything a life with autism throws at you. And without completely embarrassing the poor bleeder, he has not endured it, he has embraced it with open arms. He has not tried to replace his father, nobody needs telling that he already has one, but he has formed his own unique relationship with my son that has developed over the years. He has loved him, cared for him and taught him as if he was one of his own.
For me, he has been that constant when I have been at my lowest. When I have felt the pain a mother feels when their child has been wronged, he has comforted me; when I have shed tears at the most simple accomplishments, he has shared that joy with me and when I have felt that I could not carry on the battle that I often have to fight daily, he has picked me up and willed me to not give in.
I don’t need this to be a list of everything that The Keeper has done for me and Joseph whilst we have been together and I don’t think a day goes by without me calling him a Knobber; he is. I’m not a mush but I know how lucky I am, as a parent of a lad with additional needs to find that person who gives me that kick up the backside when I need it.
We can’t all be Louis Vuitton luggage and I am glad that Knobberdecided to go for the second hand option with the wonky wheels.