Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy SWEET Sixteen!

Happy Sweet Sixteenth Anniversary To Us!

I've been sitting here all morning searching Playlist.com for all of our "songs" that we loved back in the day so I can make a cd for my husband's anniversary gift. I can't believe how many years have come and gone. We were just kids when we met! I was only nineteen years old and he was 21. Last night we were reminiscing and realized, "Omigosh! We've known each other for more than half our lives! We've grown up together."
 
It hasn't been easy. We almost didn't make it to where we are now. A few years ago, we had our attorney draw up divorce papers. We signed those papers. Without telling us, he didn't file them with the court. He was a good friend of ours and said he knew (hoped and prayed) we'd change our minds. We didn't fall out of love; we were victims of a situation that we didn't plan and could not understand. We somehow lost ourselves as a couple while caring for and worrying about our disabled son. Individually, we felt Stephen's physical and mental challenges were somehow our fault or a punishment from God for getting pregnant outside of marriage. We also blamed one another. We became so bitter towards one another, other people who had "healthy" children and even God. Studies have shown that marriages of  parents who have disabled children, for the most part, end in divorce. I believe the statistics as of a few years ago was 80%. I can see how that happens. We were married for over 12 years before we were able to have a [real] couple's night out. My mom kept Stephen from time to time so we could go Christmas shopping or to the doctor or something like that but we felt anything beyond that would be an imposition. We had celebrated our anniversary a total of only two times in all those years. Our fifth and our twelfth. The respite just wasn't there.  I was not tired, I was exhausted. Physically, mentally, spiritually.
 
Fast forward to the present. We are now experiencing the blessing of staying together through all of the hard times. The most astounding thing we've realized is, love isn't something that you "feel" it's something that you "do" for the other person you have chosen to share your life with. Another thing we've learned; Stephen's challenges were not a curse. They became our challenge as a family. It was going to make us or break us and we decided to dig our heels in and fight for it. Stephen's already missed out on so much in life, there was NO WAY we could take his security as he knows it from him, too. How do you explain to a nonverbal, mentally challenged child that his parents are getting divorced? It's difficult enough to try to explain that to a neuro-typical child. So, yeah, we are one of those couples who stayed together for the sake of the child.  But, somehow, somewhere on that difficult road, with help from the Good Lord above, we've found one another again. at the risk of sounding cliche, my husband is the man of my dreams and my best friend. Our marriage has been difficult at best, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's all how you choose to look at it. ... I'm seeing the glass half full.   

Here I am, sitting here getting all mushy and talking about my [very] personal life which is something I haven't done in quite some time. If you've been reading my journals for a long time, you know this. A few years ago, a reader commented, "What? You're married? I assumed you were a single mother because you never say anything about your husband. You refer to him as "Stephen's dad." ::sigh:: That's how far apart we were. It's strange how you can live in the same house and sleep in the same bed with someone and feel so separate from them.
 
Having a true Attitude Of Gratitude Today

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