“Both light and shadow are the dance of Love.
Love has no cause, it is the astrolabe of God’s secrets”. Rumi
‘Oh sh*t, I think our wedding anniversary was last week’ I blurt out as we leave yet another therapy session for Chiara.
We’ve been married for five years. But both of us aren’t really keeping track though, our whole life is one big anniversary. How will we be celebrating it this time around? We’ll take Chiara to her last therapy session of the Intensive, we’ll pack-up our life of two weeks into a suitcase and fly back to Melbourne and unpack at the other end. With all our hospital visits, specialists and therapy visits; life does tend to feel like one giant ‘pack and unpack’ 😉
So on our wedding anniversary – I should say that our marriage is perfect and serene we never argue and live in marital bliss. Well, yes some of the time this is 100% correct, but….
This is how it really flows for this strong Taurean and dreamy Piscean..
The recent stat’s tell us that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. This percentage jumps to between 80% and 90% for couples who have a child with special needs. Surprise, surprise!
For a certain period I was certain we would end up in the later. Things were tough for this little tribe who were so excited to have a new addition to the family, to be shocked when life delivered something very different.
I wonder if we both knew what was installed as we stood at the alter exchanging our ‘forevers’, would of we run in opposite directions?
I wonder if we would of deemed ourselves resilient enough for the storms ahead? I wonder if the dreamy piscean who’s heart as always yearned for ‘happily-ever-after’, would of thought it to be an impossible feat? I wonder if the strong taurean would of buckled under the pressure of knowing what major health concerns his daughter would face? I wonder if this couple could of endured the years of stress that were to follow?
I wonder with all this known, would we have stood opposite each other and firmly said “I DO!!”
Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Parenting is hard.
Two people come together in a union and divide. Through that division we are supposed to come together and unite as one. Throw kids into the mix and things get blurry.
Raising children can be a challenge for any family; raising a child with disability is profoundly more intense and complex. Having to deal with multiple systems, service providers, specialists and professionals, and government agencies, combined with funding barriers, endless application forms, and financial burden is exhausting. Let alone the additional hands-on care that is needed to manage such severe physical disabilities; as well as the emotional heart-ache and worry that comes with the territory of having medically fragile child. It’s no wonder so many marriages crack under the stress, it can feel like a fiercely cruel blow to how you imagined family life to be.
For a woman, there are monumental changes that occur. Carrying a child in the womb for 9 months is no walk in the park, then childbirth (I mean seriously!), and breastfeeding around the clock.
The divisions seem to get more and more evident as children arrive into the tribe.
Things like: who gets the most sleep, who does the most work, who gets to socialise more, who stays home with the kids more, who’s need’s are getting met, who’s aren’t, who’s responsible for all the life admin, who has the ‘right’ parenting approach – how does one measure this, when both approaches are built on immense love?
Over the years Chiara’s needs have become more and more complex, every new stage having to adapt and learn how to manage. Just as there are no manuals to raising children, same goes with special needs. Each child is so unique in their needs, each parent is so unique in their approach.
You know life is ON, when you see your husband (did I mention he was a Taurean) break-down in tears with the worry and concern of Chiara & subsequently Grace too.
As for me (the Piscean lady) I can cry oceans. My heart heavy with worry. I am a mother.
The special needs road is not for the faint-hearted. Watching your child suffer and not being able to do much about it, is heart-wrenching and at times unbearable. Let alone with the knowledge that you may have to say Goodbye way to soon, and possibly suddenly.
We serve. We love. We pray.
And so it goes with marriage.
It requires hard work, patience, letting go, giving more, taking less, negotiations, balance, perseverance, acceptance, honour and good old fashioned love.
Happily ever after?
Well yes to some degree, but there is also all the frustrations, all the arguments, all the disappointments, all the expectations, all the anger mixed in with all the love, all the joy and all the bliss. You’d be hard-pressed finding a marriage that doesn’t involve a variety of all of the above. From our observation this is how it rolls’, even after 40+ years of marriage, there are still the odd arguments, or frustrations, but most importantly there are two people living side-by-side, continuing to honour their “I Do’s”.
So happy 5 years to us!
Together we have got through the brutal and beautiful sides to life.
Together we have created two angelic brave little lionesses
Together we have got up every day to continue to care for this tribe
Together we have learnt to be extra grateful for the little things
Together we created a community of love and support
Together we found that our individual parts are the ones to make us whole
Together we belly-laughed like never before
Together we have wept from the deepest core
Together we have found that our opposites are our in fact our strengths
Together we have made it through the “I Do….”
Thank you Mauro for being an awesome, dedicated and fiercely loving Papa to our two beautiful miraculous daughters Grace Maria and Chiara Diane. And you’re a pretty good husband too 😉