8000 Days Later

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It was on a Sunday afternoon in late October, 1994, when I knew I would marry my husband. Which was strange, because I had woken up that morning feeling relieved that it was finally over between us.

It had been all wrong. I was eighteen years old and had only known Dave for three months. We were touring together in a musical group with a strict rule against dating. We each called a different state home, and neither of us had ever lived on our own before. To make matters worse, Dave had a girlfriend away at college. He could not live with the guilt of falling for me, and I was not interested in being the other woman. Besides, I had plans for my life that made letting go of him inevitable.

That month of October was the most exciting and heartbreaking time in my life. When we realized we both had feelings for each other, we had built up too much tension to act reasonably. We fell hard and we lost our minds a little. Then came reality. The guilt. The long talks. What were we doing? All the while we were traveling the country with eight other people who were oblivious to what was happening between us.   Continue reading

Living the Easier Life

JumpRaising a special needs child is full of ups and downs. When we first received the diagnosis, I could never have anticipated how different things would be from year to year. How one challenge can mean the whole world is closing in on you, and then one day you wake up and realize that overcoming one challenge can also give you your life back.

Right now we are experiencing an easy existence. Sometimes I forget to be thankful. There were a few years when I thought we couldn’t do it. It’s hard to say that unless you are surrounded by other parents who understand what you mean. It isn’t that you aren’t willing to do anything you can for your child, but in the back of your mind you really do wonder what will happen when you fail. But these thoughts come and go. Continue reading

This Is My Last Five Dollars

 

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The best card I ever received was on my birthday in 1995. It was from Dave’s Grandma Gray, and she enclosed a five dollar bill. It was signed, “This is my last five dollars.”

She wasn’t being funny. Someone made her give me five dollars against her will, I think.

She didn’t know me, but she already disliked me. She lived with Dave’s family. Dave was the baby of the family. He had been traveling with a touring group when he met me- apparently a poor substitute for his last girlfriend. In fact, Grandma actually called Dave’s ex as soon as she discovered we were together.

A few months earlier Dave had received his own special birthday gift when Grandma, as a combined Christmas/birthday gift, decided to write her grandson a letter about all the reasons he should never have broken up with his last girlfriend. I guess she was pretty amazing.

I could have been offended, but it was clear that this wasn’t really about me. I am just glad I have the card. And I wish I could say this all turned out with a happy ending about how she finally accepted me, but unfortunately Grandma Gray passed away later that same year. By then we were engaged, and Dave was living in Michigan. She still wasn’t happy about it. She said I was just after his money. At the time, Dave was making doughnuts for a living.  Continue reading

Time of the Season (For Loving)

 

Something about the cooler air and changing leaves makes me feel more introspective than usual. It creates a mood, which I like. It brings up nostalgia for school days and youth, and the anticipation of what the next year might bring.

I also really like sweater weather.

Autumn is the best time of year in Michigan. Well, once we get over the fact that the last true beach day has really passed us by. But a fall sunset over Lake Michigan should not be missed, and I plan on seeing a few this month.

We all went for a walk this morning– perfect weather. Now we are settled in with our coffee, hot chocolate, and projects. I’ve got my laptop, Dave is working on some drawings, and Teghan is happily tapping on various parts of a Saved by the Bell Board Game.

The soundtrack? The Zombies….Odessey and Oracle. For some reason this record just sounds better in the early days of fall. No reason. Maybe I first liked it in October or something. I will also watch Amityville Horror at least once this month, and start drinking caramel apple cider again. It’s all part of a kind of brainwashing that doesn’t really offend me.  Continue reading

This Moment Will Pass

 

This moment will pass.

Truly believing those words will get you through a lot in life. I first learned the importance of this with my marriage. The best advice I have to offer newly married couples, other than to pick your battles– is that you will not be in love every day. But it will come back around, so don’t pack your bags quite yet. We are moody creatures, and perspective can change easily.

This advice took on a whole new meaning while I was learning to accept my daughter’s Autism. The idea that this struggle may never pass was too much to bear. And it is a struggle. So everything comes down to that ever-changing perspective. Knowing it will change, even when it feels impossible, has gotten me through the darkest moments.

Some days are harder than others. We were married, without children, for eleven years. We tried for over three of those years to have a baby, and we probably won’t be able to have any more. This is not what we imagined family life to be. It could be worse, and there are no guarantees in life; but we are talking about perspective, and these facts are important.

There are days when I make the mistake of thinking about what Teghan would be like if she had typical social skills. I think about what we would be doing together if she were like other four year old girls. I wonder what we would talk about if she could talk. I imagine a world where she understood pretend play, or could follow storylines of a book or a movie.  Continue reading