Thursday, October 25, 2012

Deep Stuff

So those of you who know my husband know a fun loving, passionate, stubborn person who loves his kids, both ours and his teens, with all his heart.

And as we've traveled the last almost four years together, we've learned that we deal with the tough issues of life very differently. We're night and day. I turn to my family, friends, and this blog to hash out my emotions and frustrations, and Todd turns inward. Clams up. He says it's not that he doesn't accept it, but that he just doesn't want to talk about it. And that's okay most of the time because he listens when I need him to and I shut up when he needs me to. And we laugh together. A lot. Because sometimes masking pain with humor is a lot more fun than wallowing in it. But we're also aware that our differences could easily turn into a resentment that explains the 80% divorce rate of parents with special needs kids, health or otherwise. 80%. Staggering, and yet, I can see how it happens. We both can see how it happens, so we fight like hell to make our marriage work and it does.

Anyway - all this to say, I was shocked to get this email in my inbox one day. And even more shocked when Todd said he wanted to me to share it in this space that I've created on the internet. 

And Owen is doing well right now, but we're struggling as we watch him ignore toys, retreat into his own world and play with his hands all day long. We hope it is just another phase, and we're working on drawing him out in those moments, but we're struggling to find the right tools. He's either playing with the dogs or his hands and sometimes you wish he would just want to play with you. Ya know?

And the lyrics to this song don't describe him exactly because every child is different, but Todd's email was a first. And I hope it was as healing for him to write as it was for me to read.


You inspire me with your transparency so I thought I'd just lay it out there...

I know I don't talk much about Owen but I think the middle verse of this song sums up the feelings I wrestle with it at my core. I know it's not my fault but his pain is hard not to see as my own fault as half his genetic code. It's not my fault but it feels like it is, you know? On the flip side he lights me up in a second. I know you know those moments where he holds your face in his little hands, stares lovingly into your soul and melts you. I love those moments and all the other wonderful things about him. It's a choice to see him one way or the other. Most of the time I see green lyrics but other times I am consumed by the yellow ones. I know you know this but I want you to know I know it too. I love you! Thanks for being his faithful loving warrior and loving me when the yellow creeps over me. I'm eternally grateful to have you as a best friend. I love you.


When it's apparent, that you have failed as a parent. Homie I ain't got 
An answer. Man I ain't got an answer. Homie I ain't got an answer. I don't 
Know. It's apparent sometimes I think I've failed as a parent. And my son 
Having autism is rough. But maybe he don't speak cuz words don't say much. 
Maybe he don't need words to communicate his love. And sometimes his 
Silence [OR SCREAMING] causes me to stumble. It's possible he's a version of me that's 

More humble. And I think my child finds more joy in playin with my phone, 
Than playin on his own. Will he shed a tear when I'm gone? I'm wrestling 
With the shame of an outsider view of me, cause life is the spotlight, and 
Eyein' in on securities. But I know his laugh, it lights up a thousand 
Rooms. And when he speaks to me it just like a flower blooms. This has just 

Become my own visual diary. I'm at the doctor's office just hopin they
Would lie to me. That my son would be alright. But if he's not, my son 
Would be alright. Cause he is God's. Autism, Single Cell, or Down Syndrome, 

Still keepin the faith in the midst of hard livin'. We stand together cause 
We have no other place to go. My son and I we live and fight even tho... I 
Ain't got an answer x3. When it's apparent, that you have failed as a 

Parent. Homie I ain't got an answer. Man I ain't got an answer. Homie I 
Ain't got an answer. I don't know. When it's apparent that you have failed 
As a parent..."

Dear Todd,

You Have Not Failed as a parent.

You are so patient with him. He's not like your other son who wants to be by your side all the time, and yet you still try to draw him out. You still try to calm him when the world is not friendly for him. You still change his diapers even though he's past the age that you should have to do that. You still mix his formula and help feed him when he needs help. You still grip his legs in the midst of a crowd and hold him high and let him grasp your head like a life-line to let him know it's okay; you've got his back. Always.
I love you for that and so many other things.

You Have Not Failed.

Quite the opposite. 

You have shown him and me more love and faith than we could have imagined. You have been our rock through the bad days. 

You Have Not Failed.

Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Our God is an awesome God! When Jeff said those words at the beginning of his toast at your wedding, we had no idea how often we all would need to boil it all down to just that! Our God is an awesome God, because I know he chose you one for the other as best friends with a deep love that binds you together through all of life. Our God is an awesome God that I can read these painful words, these loving words, these words of respect and admiration.....I add my AMEN to it all.
    I couldn't possibly love Owen, or any of my grandkids, any more than I do. But I also know Owen needs me to love him in different ways than the others. Thank you for sharing these words from his parents who are perfectly made by our Father for their parenting roles with Owen!!