There were times I thought he was just too crabby. Not having a good outlook, too negative, refusing to see the good that can be within a family with significant special needs. There was a time when I took this all personally, a little snappiness here, a little snarky comment there….I would push back, defensive, determined to force the light of life into his heart for fear that he’d blocked it out too much, too long. Or for fear that I too would take this on to be my view towards our life.
This took a great deal of effort, to do this with and to a man I love so dearly. It made a perfect GFCFSFEF recipe for disaster. A perfect recipe for two parents full of love, hope and strength to argue in ways that sometimes left us both to wonder if we were beyond repair. But we aren’t, we weren’t, we’re stronger than ever.
In part, I softened. I took enough steps back from our life to see the man he is, not the man I was projecting him to be. A man full of heart, of strength. He is a man filled with the purpose of providing for his family by every means possible. Forever worried by our direction, our ability to reach our goals. He carries this along with the worries for the day-to-day, the medical worries, the career-oriented worries the single breadwinner of a special needs home carries. That’s what eats him up…tears him apart.
So while I once demanded words that ‘proved’ his ability to love unconditionally, to march forward through slings of mud storms in our eyes, I now realize, he does. He did. He will. Instead of arguing, I give him space. A moment to vent, to collect his thoughts, and I gently lay my hand on his, within his, to quietly acknowledge all his fears. To quietly acknowledge that all his fears are my fears, his hopes are my hopes.
To softly say, “We love you too. Thank You.”
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