When I was little, I had one friend whose parents were divorced. Only one. I remember that at some point in the 6th grade, she told me that 50% of marriages ended in divorce. I didn't believe her.
As I moved through high school and became a child of divorced parents, I learned that the actual divorce rate was something closer to 66%. I believed it.
Since becoming the parent of a special needs child, I have learned that although the 66% American divorce rate is high, the 80-90% divorce rate for parents of a child with special needs is even higher. And even scarier. But totally believable.
Between doctors appointments, therapists, therapies, research and reading, IEPs, surgieries and medications, it is easy to lose yourself in the day to day, waxing and waning hope, and seeking solace in any place possible.
Nate and I are aware of this scary statistic. We've had conversations on how to avoid the feelings of blame and guilt. We try our best to make even a couple of minutes for us each day. We laugh. We share responsibilities. But I don't necessarily think we were this good 5 years ago. We grew here. When I look back at our path to this point, I try and find the turning point in each situation. The good thing that came out of the bad. The spark.
Our 75 days living in the NICU were long and sometimes depressing. But each day when Nate and I left, having just loved on our little babies, we walked out hand in hand. Sometimes we talked and were happy. Some days we were silent and so scared. And one lucky day, we left with babies in our hands.
Through those days, we learned that whatever we were feeling was ok as long as we were honest and open about what those feelings were. Its hard to judge how you would feel in any situation, much less put expectations on how your partner would feel. We learned acceptance. Silence. Compassion for each other. Trust.
Nate and I often find ourselves defining parts of our lives by songs. For me, this period of relationship advancement and maturity is defined by a Dixie Chicks song called Easy Silence. Feel what you want about the Dixie Chicks. They write some good songs. Here are some of the lyrics that still make my eyes well up with tears. In a good way.
When the calls and conversations
Accidents and accusations
Messages and misperceptions
Paralyze my mind
Buses, cars and airplanes leaving
Burning fumes of gasoline
And everyone is running
And I come to find a refuge in the
Easy silence that you make for me
Its okay when there's nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me