By most accounts and statistics, our marriage should have deteriorated already.
A child with special needs? A wife with a chronic disease? A husband with career in one of the most stressful professions?
You would expect we would have failed. In fact, the deck was stacked for us to fail.
But we didn’t. And we haven’t. And we won’t.
Between the blow of a diagnosis, to Callie’s amputation, to the daily maintenence I have for my diabetes, to simply managing life in a non-inclusive world for Callie–the stress and burden is overwhelming. No wonder parents of special needs kids feel an overpowering amount of stress and strain–especially on their marriage.
This pressure hasn’t torn us apart. In fact, it’s done the opposite and has brought us even closer together.
When Callie was diagnosed with Tetrology of Fallot, it was each other we turned to. It was his hand that I held through the entire 8 hour surgery and it was my arms he fell into after we would leave the NICU each day.
When Callie was wheeled back into surgery for her amputation, it was James that held me and let me collapse in pain. It was me who reassured him that she would be ok and we could do this together no matter what obstacles would be put in our path.
When Callie had her latest open heart surgery, it was at my feet that James fell to on his knees. It was my waist that he arms circled, holding onto for strength. It was James who covered me with a blanket in the middle of the night when he woke up in the hospital room. It was me that he would make sure had eaten, taken her insulin, and rested while our baby girl recovered in the bed next to us.
But the greatest gift Callie has given us is not how her special needs have drawn us together….but in how they have pitted us against the world. Our relationship has solidified in the adversity we’ve overcome. Together. Everytime we held hands in the waiting room while Callie had a procedure. Everytime he wiped tears from my face. Everytime we navigated the insurance system. Everytime we would work with Callie to take steps in her new prosthetics. Everytime we would collapse at the end of an exhausting day. Everytime he would make me laugh trying to lighten the mood in the doctor’s office. Everytime we would do Callie’s therapy sessions with her. Everytime Callie would hit a milestone. Everytime we would overcome an obstacle. At each of these times, I felt immensely grateful to have such an amazing partner in this struggle.
Marriage, a lot of the time, can be challenged by a special needs child. Ours instead was lifted up and solidified. It was us against the world and we would do everything in our power to create an incredible life for our little family. The world might throw enourmous hurdles in our path but we would overcome each and every one.
With courage and kindness.