When Jim first came into her life, Jenny says she was nervous about how he'd react to Evan's unintentional disinterest. "Any single mom can relate," she says. "You want your boyfriend to have this connection with your child, so you go, 'Okay, we can be a family.' And when there's nothing given to your boyfriend, you think, 'Oh, no. How is he going to see past it?'"
For the first few months of their relationship, Jim says Jenny never mentioned her son's struggle with autism. When the truth came pouring out, so did years of pent-up emotions.
"I call it a nervous breakthrough," Jim says. "I think people have ways of hiding their emotions. People think their emotions are ugly, but when she finally broke down, we were in the kitchen, and I kind of grabbed her and I wouldn't let her go until she dumped it."
For years, Jenny says she hid anger and guilt behind a beautiful smile. "Her therapist told her there was anger there because she felt guilty for giving her son autism," Jim says. "This is what a lot of mothers deal with—this terrible guilt for giving their child a disease."
Over the years, Jim has been Jenny's shoulder to cry on, as well as a voice of reason. "'When you feel it, you heal it' is what he taught me," Jenny says.