Death. Another disability or disease. Disaster. Difficulty. Damage. Drama. Depression.
But none of those words are the dreaded ‘D’ word I’m talking about.
The thing is, we’ve been through death with the loss of Carter. We’ve dealt with disabilities and diseases and have enough drama and difficulties in our life for our whole neighborhood. I deal with depression that is debilitating sometimes. And we’ve seen natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey; we even had damage to the house. But those things don’t scare me any more. No, not even death, although I do think about the fact that just because I lost Carter doesn’t guarantee I won’t lose another child. I do worry about Tenley’s seizures and if she’s at risk of dying in her sleep because of them.
Those things pale in comparison to the thing I fear the most.
As a special needs parent, there’s one thing that bothers me more than most other things. And that’s divorce.
Did you know that I hear all the time from people how lucky Craig and I are to still be married? How their marriage fell apart? How we remind them of themselves once upon a time – aka, just before they dissolved their marriages. To be careful. To make sure we do a, b, or c or else …
If your parents got divorced, you’re more likely. Check.
If you lose a child, or struggle with infertility, you’re more likely. Check.
If you have financial burdens, you’re more likely. Check.
If you have special needs children, you’re more likely. Check.
If you deal with health or mental health issues, you’re more likely. Check.
I mean, seriously, is there any hope? Divorce stats floating around suggest 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. Add in a complicating factor such as the ones above, and that number can get as high as 90%.
And it doesn’t help that we never get to spend any time together. That we are more like roommates and parenting partners than a couple. Finding time to work on our relationship is tough, nearly impossible. We have a lot of support from our family, but we tend to rely on that for the things we need to get done the most, and not necessarily to go on dates or reconnect. I try to remember our verse, but it can be hard at times because we’re not always on the same page.
You know the question people ask, “If you were on a sinking ship and could only save one family member, who would you save?” Well, for Christians, it’s usually the spouse, because in that hierarchy, they come before children. For us, we’d each take a kid. We don’t know how to save each other any longer. We barely know each other now. We’ve spent the entire existence of our children just trying to keep them alive through complicated circumstances. We didn’t need them to learn how to hold their bottles, we just needed them to eat.
We’ve been so focused on our kids that we’ve lost sight of each other. And while I excel at fixing most any situation, I don’t have a clue how to fix this.