marriage · parenting · special needs parenting

A Tribute To My Husband…

We are a case study of opposites attracting. He’s a headstrong doer, I’m a heart-strong be-er. He takes conflict with his daily coffee, whereas I will go to the end of the world to avoid hurt feelings. He’s decisive, I procrastinate. He talks on the phone and connects with people, I text and keep to myself.

Yet somehow it works. We’ve been married almost 23 years now, and though it took us awhile, we figured out a thing or two along the way. I have to say, we do all right.

When the neonatologist told us our son appeared to have Down syndrome, it was him who took the lead, accepting the diagnosis and plunging ahead. I might have floated adrift for quite some time, but Mike rallied immediately, then threw me a lifeline and reeled me in.

We often have tough decisions to make, and when I waffle he’s strong. When I procrastinate he pushes. When I get bogged down in my feelings, he’s pragmatic. When frustration gets the best of me, he’s diplomatic. When I demure, he asserts. When I feel, he thinks.

I’m pretty sure people envision me in the driver’s seat in our complex family, and I don’t think that’s wrong, but if I’m the driver, he’s the engine. One of us wouldn’t get anywhere without the other.

I don’t know how much I actually pause to appreciate my husband. Certainly not enough. In case I haven’t said it lately, I notice you. I appreciate you. I value you for who you are and for all you do. I can’t imagine living this life and parenting this crew without you right here with me for every little detail. In the midst of it, you make me a better me. You call me out when I’m off-base, you challenge me to improve myself, but you love me exactly where I am. I know you didn’t ask for this crazy life, but you have stepped into it and mastered it. I love you completely. And just in case I forgot to tell you, thank you. You are a treasure.

marriage · special needs parenting

If I Taught Marriage 101, This Would Be My First Lesson 

Twenty-two years. As of June 10, we’ve been married for over half my life. 

I met Mike when I was 15 and he just turned 18. He let me drive his sports car on my learner’s permit that summer, but I was a bit tricky to nail down. Then he went off to college. Upon his return he asked a friend of mine on a date. I wasn’t about to let that happen, and found out that it was a calculated move to reel me in that worked. 

We started dating when I was 16. We became adults together and got married just a few months after he got his first police job. 

We blew it big time in those early years, but somehow, just before Alex was born we both decided to get our act together, just in time to welcome him into our lives. 

Not too long after that we brought our 13 year old niece home and became parents of a teenager. Then we added Ben. 

It’s been a hell of a ride, but at some point I realized that I needed to let him go.  Since then, I make sure Mike gets to take up every reasonable opportunity to go out hunting or fishing with his friends. 

It sounds ridiculous. With everything we have to manage at home, why would I cut my husband loose like that?  

Because when he’s here, he’s really here. 

He does Ben’s flush and catheterizations every day. He gives Ben his meds and gets the boys outside and sends me out for runs.  I never have to nag him for anything.  Seriously. If I want something I say the word and he makes it happen. 

I accidentally stumbled upon the perfect solution:  When my husband has freedom to do all the things he loves he’s content to be domestic.  That, and he treats me like gold.  

Our day in, day out life is demanding and draining. Neither of us could do it for long without opportunities to replenish ourselves. I learned the value of self care when I didn’t do it, and have become a huge proponent of the practice. Indeed, equally important is spouse care. In taking turns getting breaks, we both maintain balanced, healthy lives in which we can be highly effective spouses and parents together. 

If I taught marriage 101, this would be my first lesson:  love in such a way that the person you love feels free. 

marriage · parenting · special needs parenting

Marriage or Children, Which Should Come First?

Does anyone else get tired of “in my day we did this and it was sooooo much better!”?  I sure do.  It’s not yesteryear, times change, and it’s a crock of BS to keep rehashing how one generation is superior to others.

Yet, even though his delivery is curmudgeonly and he provides zero data to back up his claim, I do agree with the principle Rosemond presents here.

My husband is my first priority, and I am his.

Although the Curmudgeon-in-chief lacks evidence to cite, there most certainly is ample evidence that prioritizing a healthy marriage is most important.  But that’s not even my point. As usual, I’m delving off into disability territory.

Our children have higher than average needs, and our stress is of an entirely different level. Perhaps not in severity, but in intensity. The daily care of a child with complex medical, developmental and behavioral needs is a constant outpouring of self. If I were a smartphone I would be playing music, navigating and scrolling Facebook simultaneously with multiple apps open in the background. In other words, serious battery drainage.

If I were to prioritize the children first, I would be chronically depleted.

But I don’t.

I prioritize my husband, and him me. One would think that would cause further battery drainage, but instead it’s a power source.

See that baby, that’s a strong marriage. I have a battery charger that goes with me everywhere.  By continually building each other up and giving support, we provide each other with a backup charging system. I know that when I’m flashing red, I can rely on my husband to give me a boost and keep me going, and the same goes for him.

Not only that, but if you’re familiar with the principle of compound interest, a healthy marriage pays compound interest. What we have already invested continues to grow and give returns.

I know anecdotal evidence doesn’t carry much weight scientifically, but my experience fleshes out the evidence of making your spouse and marriage the top priority; giving no exceptions for complex needs, but rather giving increased emphasis on the marriage because of complex needs.

I am certain that the constant source of strength and encouragement that my husband and I provide each other is our oxygen mask that must be applied before attempting to help anyone else, and that it is truly a matter of survival.

advocacy · marriage

What Should I Think When a Recurring Dream Turns Lucid?

A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware of dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment.  Wikipedia

I have had occasional lucid dreams since early adulthood. During that phase I had watched all of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies with my friend Dawn, and Freddie Krueger started invading my dreams.

The dream recurred for many moons, at least a year, before I started recognizing it, and then started changing it. I took care of that burnt creeper, and he finally left my dreams for good.

Since then I have been able to do that with several recurring dreams and an occasional random dream. Once I realize I’m dreaming, I either awaken or change the dream.

Last night I had another recurring dream. It was my light switch dream (does anyone else have these dreams ?). I’m oftentimes in my childhood home, sometimes in unfamiliar places, but regardless, I’m alone and the lights won’t turn on when I flip the switch.

I looked up this dream and found this meaning:

If the light switch in your dream wasn’t working, you are having a hard time figuring out the solution to a personal issue.

I’m thinking that one is pretty accurate in context of our current situation (see previous post for clarification).

But this time I was at home, with Mike. (I don’t need a dream interpreter to know that my beloved husband represents strength, comfort and protection) and it was the switch by my kitchen table, which controls both kitchen lights, the garage light, and the lights over the driveway.

I started flipping the switches and this time I knew it was the dream. I got uncharacteristicly angry (I tend to be low key) and went off.  I was yelling words I normally don’t use, tried another switch, and woke up.

I don’t know what you think, but I think this chick has had it. I didn’t get the lights on, but I did stop the nonsense.  I’m not only changing my dream, I’m changing my reality, the reasons I have it.

Speaking of lucid dreams, do you have them?  What do you think yours mean?

marriage · writing

10 Powerful Quotes About Love and Marriage for Valentine’s Day

One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the heart of true harmony. 

~Haruki Murakami
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. 

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. 

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

~Kahlil Gibron 
To be fully seen by somebody, and then loved anyhow – that is a human offering that can border on miraculous.

~Elizabeth Gilbert
To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.

~Chris Jami
It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. 

~Friedrich Nietzsche 
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. 

~Lao Tzu
Love doesn’t make the world go ’round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile. 

~Franklin P. Jones
We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love. 

~Dr Seuss
The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well. 

~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good, as far as it can be obtained. 

~C.S. Lewis 

marriage · Uncategorized


See that, under the cable box?

I thought it was a tumbleweed and I was pretty darn impressed that I had a tumbleweed stuck under my cable box in December. 

I’m sitting in my chair (my happy place) with a sleepy puppy on my lap and fiddling around with the new tablet I got for Christmas. It’s sunny, I’ve gone for a run today and cleaned the house (not very well evidently). When I saw said tumbleweed my only inclination was to photograph it. The photograph proved that it is just a common cobweb, not a tumbleweed. 

I’m disappointed. 

Instead of cleaning it I blogged about it. 

I feel a little bad for my persnickety neatnick husband at moments like this. Just a little bad. 


5 Reasons I Love To Dress Up For My Husband 

Not every day, but fairly frequently, I throw on a flirty dress just to wear around the house. When I do, I style my hair, and dab on a bit of makeup, just for an audience of one. My husband. It’s been my habit for some time to do some special preening from time to time, just for him. 

I don’t know if other women do this, but it’s a habit that reinforces itself. Here’s why:

  1.  When I take the time to look flirty, I feel flirty and playful. I’ve been with the same man for a couple of decades now, so building in some playfulness goes a long way toward keeping things fresh.
  2. I’m often tired. Who isn’t, really? Today is a day that I’m riding out a snow day in sweats and bed head, and it does nothing for my self-image. But those days when I brighten up my face, spruce my hair and throw on something flattering, I feel better about myself.  And when I feel sassy, it carries over to my demeanor and everything else I do, including interacting with my husband. 
  3. My husband has still got it. Yeah, his hair is on the sparse side, and more gray than brown these days, but he’s avoided the dad-bod, and still has some serious swagger. The fact that he still has my eye makes me all the more eager to keep his. 
  4. It lifts me out of my circumstances. There’s a lot of unglamorous work involved in parenting, especially with special needs added in. It would be so easy to leave myself in the back seat and not bother with my appearance. I am convinced that having a few days a week out of yoga pants and put together helps me feel and even be more together.  I like to think of myself as a professional parent, and dressing with pride enhances that self image. 
  5. My husband responds. He likes it, and it shows. 

Maybe it’s silly, or trite, but for us, it works. It’s a little secret of a marriage that’s successful for the long run. It’s not rocket science or a sure fire marriage fixer, but just one little tool in a marriage toolbox that in my has been beneficial both short and long term. And it’s fun.