Saturday, November 7, 2009
Five Years Ago
Five years ago I knew I was blessed. I had just married my best friend, and was eager, hopeful, optimistic, and a bit euphoric about our love, our life, and our future. Life couldn't get any better.... or so we thought. It still amazes me how time builds wisdom, and how passion and companionship can overcome life's toughest adversities. I'm just lucky I get to experience it all with one very special person who gets me. Who puts his family first. Who loves without conditions. Who patiently participates in my daily desire for hope and abundance. And who also happens to be the most loving, compassionate, and generous father I know.
On October 23rd, Bryan and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. Most of you can probably relate to the fact that in some ways the time has flown by, while in other ways I feel like we have been together for much longer. Regardless, our marriage has had to grow and change in ways we never expected, but like everything else in life, without struggle, we wouldn't get to experience the immense joy. Without heartache, the beauty of perspective and grace. We have endured all of the above and more. And thankfully, I am happy to report that we are still going strong. Still hopeful and optimistic. Still a bit euphoric, but now for different, more meaningful reasons. But we certainly understand a thing or two about sadness and loss.
So what is it that makes a marriage work when you are faced with such pain, and such sorrow? I read a recent statistic that stated 90% of married couples who have a child with autism will face divorce. So with those odds, what can we do to be in the lucky 10%? To remember why we came together in the first place and to continue to support and care for ourselves and each other as well as our medically fragile, special needs daughter AND our neurotypical daughter? How can there possibly be enough time in the day to meet everyone's needs? It is easy for me to see WHY these statistics are so high. The emotional stress, financial desperation, isolation from certain activities and events, daily struggle for seemingly simple tasks, permanency of the situation and so on.... but what about the joy. What about the simplicity of love? What about the incredible...and I do mean INCREDIBLE amount of self awareness that takes place when you get to a point where it's not about the race anymore. It's just about the connection we have to each other. Do these truths fall by the wayside? I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it scares me to death. I'd also be lying if I told you I had all the answers.
I write all the time about what it is like to be a mother... but also worthy, (perhaps even more so) of my attention should be on how to be a good spouse and partner. I am as flawed as anyone else, and perhaps a bit crazier than your average chick... but I know that. I know that I can be hard to live with, so if my husband is being hard to live with in any given moment... I can easily see through that. I am far from perfect, so I don't expect my children or spouse to be perfect either. It really is all in how you look at it. Everyday we have the choice to either be critical or grateful. To appreciate what we have, or to long for what we don't. There really can be a silver lining in the chaos, you just have to find it. I remain optimistic that we have what it takes to triumph. To beat the odds, and to do so with peaceful, loving, hearts.
Five years ago I was blessed. Today I am blessed even more.
Today I have someone to laugh with. Someone to cry to, and bitch and moan with when things seem too hard to handle. Someone who sees beyond disability. Someone who, like me, will go to the ends of the earth to help our daughter. Someone who supports me, tolerates my crazy moods and spending money beyond our means. Someone who rarely sees a dark day because he chooses to be happy. Someone who respects me and my needs, though they differ drastically from his. Someone who pours me a glass of wine every night because he knows our life is hard. Someone who sends me out to fancy dinners with friends because he knows I need a break. Someone who gets excited about the small stuff with me.... even when the big stuff is weighing us down. Someone who is selfless, non-judgemental, silly, and fun to be around.
Today I feel like the luckiest woman in the world because I get to share my life with someone who defines commitment. We are committed to each other. To our children. To their well being. To our family. And committed to only let crazy and sadness eek in every now and then... and then to pull each other out of it.