When I share stories about my daughter, Casey, I often mention how being her mom changed me forever. One of the biggest changes—an absolutely positive change—was my priorities.
Before Casey, I was very materialistic. My goals were to buy a big fancy house and fill it with lavish things, to go on amazing trips all around the world and to become a high-powered executive at my company.
Like all couples, my husband and I would bicker. We bickered about whose turn it was to take out the trash or leaving socks on the floor or not putting the phone on the charger. Sometimes we would have really heated arguments about simple stuff like that.
Casey hated when people argued or yelled. When she got upset, it caused physical complications to her airway. So we tried not to upset her. We had to learn how to disagree and argue in a very different way. No more yelling because the dishes weren’t done.
We also had to divide our time. I stopped working to stay home with Casey. One of us had to have our undivided attention on her at all times. Between suctioning and all of the other challenges we faced, we had to refocus our time.
If either of us had a minute to take out the trash, do the dishes, etc., it just got done. We no longer bickered about it; we worked together as a team to get everything done around caring for our daughter.
We also learned that those little arguments really didn’t matter. If the dishes didn’t get done, who cared? They would still be there when we had time.
Not only did my husband and I stop bickering, we learned to appreciate what we did for each other. Sure, we still have occasional arguments—and even some fights. But they’re far less common. Our attitude about everything has changed.
Because I was no longer working, my goals of corporate domination came to an end. I learned that a home filled with love and joy is far more valuable than a house filled with expensive clothes and furniture. Those great vacations I used to dream about? They were replaced with any place and occasion where we could all be together making memories.
The lessons Casey taught us are still very present. She has been gone for more than three years now, and we still value time together, joy and love over material items. We still work hard to appreciate each other. None of the things that I used to think were the most important are even on my radar anymore.
It’s not about stuff, it’s about love.
Adapting to life changes when you have a child with a disability comes in stages. Learn more about Accepting, Grieving and Adapting to Life.