Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

CRUEL TO BE KIND
January 11, 2016

I had a bit of a revelation this past weekend. Perhaps somewhat overdue revelation but I had it (finally) and it’s put me to shame.

A discussion about something Cole related with my husband turned, as it often does, into an argument. I took my frustration out on him and got nasty. It’s my M.O. – not one I’m proud of but it happens a lot when we get into these emotional conversations. I think a lot of people do the same, and it is a learned style of fight that got passed on to my by my mom and brother. Hurt the ones you love.

The revelation I came to, is that my frustration when discussing difficult things in my life, is that we’re discussing difficult things in both of our lives. Shared frustrations, concerns, fears, anxiety, and stresses. When I talked to friends about these things, I have an outside opinion to bounce things off and to bring in different views. When I discuss things with my husband, the frustration is that we’re both in a similar place and it doesn’t help to remove me from where I’m stuck.

I’m not sure if I’m expressing that properly but in my head it makes sense and it struck me that it’s the root of some of the anger I direct at him. He can help me resolve some things because he’s looking for the same resolution, and I can’t necessarily help him. Sometimes you need a trusted or knowledgeable outsider to provide perspective and insight.

While I know that my fighting style is cruel, and not appropriate, especially when aimed at my partner, someone I love, this recognition I had gave me cause to reflect on my misguided anger in a way that I haven’t before. It gave me a deeper awareness of my failing. When I’m hurt, worried, concerned, or even appropriately angry, it’s not useful or helpful to deflect it upon someone else, especially someone who is often sharing the same emotions and therefore doesn’t need the additional burden of my wrath.

We’re going to fight still, everyone does, but I’m really going to make a bigger effort to stop to better understand the whole of a situation and what might really help to resolve it before I lash out.

Maturing can be a real bitch sometimes, especially when the mirror reflection is of someone were not proud to see…

THAT OLD FEELING
November 16, 2015

No matter what your circumstances, marriage is hard. Whenever you have two different people approaching anything together there’s bound to be some give and take, and when it’s creating a life together, and raising a child together, the potential for discontent becomes greater.

Throw in a child with special needs, who impacts your lives in many ways a typical child does not, the discontent grows. You can’t blame your child for the impact he has on your life. For the most part, his presence in your life is glorious, as with any child. But his needs will always take precedent and his influence is felt in nearly every decision.

Cole’s now fourteen, an age when many teens are starting to spend a couple of hours or more in the house alone whilst the parent(s) are out running errands, grabbing a bite of lunch with friends, working out, going to a movie, whatever. It’s an age where a lot of teens are also going out on their own, to the mall, parties, the movies, etc. Unfortunately, that’s not us, and it’s not Cole.

I’m certain Cole would love the opportunity to have the freedom to hang out with friends, doing something fun with out parents or adults. But he needs someone to support him, even if it’s just pushing his wheelchair, and making sure he’s included in the activity. The opportunity has never come up, not yet, but it’s also not something we can impose on his friends.

We don’t have great childcare at the moment and moving him is so much harder on him since the surgery, which leaves us with little opportunity for date nights and the like. Not having alone time puts a lot of stress on a marriage. You’d think not spending time together would prevent it but I find the disconnect makes things so much harder. It often feels like two people moving through a life side by side, but not together.

I’ve given it a lot of thought because my husband was traveling quite a bit these past months and given to my own devices, I create my own routines and it’s then hard for him to break back in to the fold. We bickered and bitched for the first weeks that he was home, and just this weekend things started to feel reconnected. We didn’t pick on one another, we accomplished things, and we relaxed a bit. I’m hopeful that we can continue on this path for the next few months where he’s homebound and not traveling. It’s nice to see glimpses of “us” again.

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ANNIVERSARY SONG
April 22, 2015

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Today is my fifteenth wedding anniversary. We’ve been a couple for seventeen years. Almost a third of my life…Before Dan the longest relationship(s) I had been in lasted no more than two years, and ours is in many way the most challenged. The divorce statistics for couples with special needs children are pretty daunting. Something like 80% to the national average of 45%. I’d say we’re doing pretty damn fine!

The past fifteen years have not always been easy and there have admittedly been times when it felt like the best thing to do would be to throw in the towel but the love has always been there, even when we haven’t liked each other very much.

I’m a handful. I admit it. I can be very hard on someone who disappoints or angers me. I also have a tendency to lash out and be hurtful, especially with my husband who is the unfortunate recipient of my foulness no matter who or what the cause. He has the pleasure and sorrow of being the one closest to me, and the one who is around me the most.

The pay off is that I’m more often sunny and pleasant. He actually thinks I’m funny and tolerates my singing, which even my son refuses. We’ve had to endure a lot of stresses over the years, most notably the birth of our beautiful boy, our attempts to navigate the world of special needs parenting, and everyone’s favorite, finances. But we’ve managed to come together more often than not and work well together. Our strengths compliment one another making us a force to be reckoned with. Our journey has been unexpected and bumpy but always with an underlying current of love running through it.

We plan to celebrate rather simply because it’s a hectic time workwise for both of us and a Wednesday (not as fun to do late night celebrating on a weekday!), but, because it’s a rarity, the idea of sitting across a restaurant table from my husband, sharing wine and nibbles is heaven.

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Rather than one single grand gift, I decided to go with the 15 theme…Fifteen assorted prezzies! They range from a CD with 15 songs that remind me of him to a bag of what he claims is the best coffee he’s ever had (James Coffee Co.) to a Replacements t-shirt (we saw them the other night and he commented that he realized he didn’t have one of their T-shirts despite them being one of his faves) to 15 photos from our wedding that I created an album for to a chocolate croissant (his favorite) from a great bakery near my office to start the day on a sweet note. The process of coming up with the ideas and the different fifteens (like the songs, pictures and things I love about you list) really put me in a frame of mind of recognizing how blessed we are and of how much I love him.

Nothing crazy, but hopefully things that say “I listen, and I hear you”…Here’s to the next fifteen, Darling.  I can’t wait to see what is yet to unfold!

I STILL REMEMBER
February 12, 2015

While I’m not big on the whole Valentine’s Day big wow romance thing, it is a day I like to honor people I love with a little something extra. I like to think I spread the love pretty well throughout the year but it’s fun to have an excuse to do a little something more. This year it’s a Saturday night and our sitters are all partnered up and celebrating on their own so I’m pondering ideas for a post-child-to-bed with my husband. We need it…I crave it…(and I’m not just talking about sex…)

Sometimes the demands of having a 24/7 child, full time job, and little sleep leave little to no time or energy for connecting with my husband. Often our conversations are focused on the basics: How is the Boy? Did he have a good day? Homework? How was your day? What’s for dinner? Then, bath and bed. Day over. Not a lot of time left for romance or energy for deep, thoughtful conversation.

It makes me long for the days when we were only two (not that I would trade our son for anything). When just being a couple was enough. We often spent weekends seeing movies, cooking together or trying new restaurants, seeing live music and friends. We were carefree, laughed easily, found joy in the simplicity of our life. Like most couples before they enter parenthood, we had the privilege to focus our attention on just ourselves.

The struggle with having a child who has special needs, particularly when the child is as dependent as Cole, is that all of our focus and attention is devoted to him and it’s constant. Everything else comes second, third, and never. Childcare is harder to come by because some of the needs are more specific. With Cole, we need someone who can lift and transfer him from chair to chair to bed. It rules out grandmothers…

We don’t have the luxury or freedom to do things like a regular date night where we can reconnect and remember. We try to grab moments when and where we find them and we appreciate these treasures, but sometimes if feels like they are few and far between. It’s often easier to for one of us to plan a night out with friends, like my regular Mom’s Night Out, or his recent camping trip with the guys, because there’s not a sitter issue, but it doesn’t solve the need for togetherness. Strangely, too, it sometimes feels like when we’re running through days and weeks without that time, it somehow loses its importance. We forget how great it is to snuggle up together and giggle about silly things, or share a bottle of wine over candlelight. But I still remember…