My husband and I celebrated our 24th anniversary in January 2017.
Our marriage has been hit with so many challenges, including raising our child with a disability and personal health issues. There have been the stresses that many couples face, including loss of jobs, moves, and money woes.
When I hear of friends who have children with disabilities who are getting divorced, it breaks my heart for all involved. But it also makes me more grateful than ever for the marriage I have. I truly believe you see your spouse's true colors when you have challenges.
The early parenting days consisted of my husband randomly surprising me with bouquets of flowers from the grocery store. They always brightened up the kitchen and made me smile. At some point, the conversation turned to loving carnations, simply because they lasted longer than roses. I received carnations for a long time.
As our children grew, and as our child with autism and epilepsy became more difficult, the signs of showing our love have changed. I mean this in the sincerest way when I say that the signs of love now are so deeply appreciated. Now, they usually involve a few more hours of sleep in the morning, an uninterrupted 4 hours of sleep at night, a dinner brought to you while you are administering a breathing treatment or doing late night paperwork.
Love is offering to clean up the bathroom mess at 3 a.m., no matter what the situation may be. Love is drying off this mother's tears when she hears her child has challenges that are insurmountable. Love is also telling that mother to get up and keep fighting when no one else will.
The signs of showing love may have changed as our family dynamics have changed with the age and demands of caring for our child, but one thing remains, and that is our love. Love is patient, love is kind, and love is abundant with humor, food and sleep—not flowers.
Thank you, my dear husband, for standing beside me for 24 years on this rollercoaster called life.
Find more information about taking care of yourself and each other here.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.