I was reading the other day that the national divorce rate is somewhere right around 50%. I read also that that number jumps up to about 80% when there is a child with a disability. It saddens me to think there are so many couples out there that start with excellent intentions and then find they just don't work for whatever reason. It also makes me feel even more blessed that Matthew is my husband.
Matt and I met the summer of 2008 playing volleyball with a mutual friend. I didn't really like him all that much when I first met him but after we spent some time together with the other team members at a street festival, I really began to see some possibility in him! We went to lunch a few days after the festival and I knew right then that I was going to marry him. In fact, I called my mom that day and told her I was going to marry him!
We had been dating for about 2 and a half months when I confessed that I was madly in love with him and would have married him right from the start. He asked me when I could "Get a day off (in my mind the next words were going to be so we can move in together but he actually finished with) so we can get married?" I said let's go now! We went upstairs to his office and researched what we needed to do to get a marriage license and found there is no waiting period in Ohio. Matt went to work that night and I went home.
Throughout the night I texted him and asked if he was serious! He told me he'd pick me up the next morning so we could get our marriage license. He showed up the next morning and it was a dreary, rainy day. As he held the door to the truck open I told him never REALLY proposed and with that he got down (almost) on one knee on the gravel drive in the rain and asked me if I'd marry him. I said yes and got in the truck happy that I finally had a proper proposal.
We got our marriage license and I called off work. I told my boss that we had decided to get married and I'd be in the next day. Well, technically, I told her I'd be in later that morning but it didn't happen.
We went back to Matt's house and found a minister that would come to the house to marry us. Originally, we had planned on not telling anyone but I really needed my mom there so we invited our parents. It was not until later when I realized we didn't have rings for the ceremony. We were short on time and we went to WalMart to get some $40 wedding bands!
Our parents showed up at 5pm and we let them talk and get to know each other for a few minutes (they'd never met!) and then we sprung the news! We told them we had decided to get married. We let that sit for a minute when Matt's mom asked us if we had set a date. We told them that we had and it was in about 40 minutes when the minister was to arrive.
The ceremony was short and beautiful and it is one of the best things I have done in my life- tied with the birth of my children! We have been happily married now for 1 year, 4 months and 4 days. I have never looked back or had a moment where I wasn't absolutely thrilled to be Matt's wife.
He is everything I have ever wanted in a partner. He is kind and generous, soft spoken and really funny! He makes me smile and there is not a day that I don't thank God for him. I am blessed with such a wonderful husband.
My mom will tell you that Matt's true character showed when he called her after Casey & Connor were born. My mom was on her way to Las Vegas to run a half marathon when we found out we were delivering early! She will tell you he said,"HI mom. The boys are here. They are beautiful and perfect. And they think they may have Down Syndrome." He amazed her when the first words out of his mouth about our sons was that they were beautiful and perfect and oh yeah- there's this other thing that doesn't matter.
When we got the confirmation on the Fish test and the Karotype I sobbed uncontrollably. I cried so hard that I thought my head would explode. I had been praying over and over that the early suspicions were wrong. As I sobbed and hurt Matt put his arms around me and said, "Hun, they are perfect."
When I needed him the most- he was there with the life raft that I so needed. He made me realize in that moment what I knew but had temporarily forgotten- that our sons were amazing. They were healthy and perfect! He reminded me that I was their mother and that if I was going to feel sorry for myself then I was doing them a great disservice. He never said more than Hun, they're perfect but there were volumes more spoken when his arms embraced me and lifted me to a safer place. He will always be my hero for that moment and I don't think I have ever told him how much he saved me that day.
I write all of that to express this one little thought- I wish that every mother in that moment of despair when they find out there is something wrong with her child- regardless of what- had a Matthew.
I am crabby a lot these days because I don't sleep enough and because a part of me misses the "us" before we became a family. I miss curling up with him for a long nap or staying up late and not changing diapers. I guess that's probably normal for all new parents. There is a huge shift in your relationship and I suppose it takes time to adjust. I can also understand why couples who were not all that solid in the beginning would fall apart after the birth of a child. When you add in the stress of diagnosis of Down Syndrome or ANY OTHER disability or sickness it's understandable how some couples are ruined. God however, has blessed me with my Matt. He is the most wonderful husband I could ever ask for.
Matt's a funny guy. He has no idea how absolutely wonderful he is and he will disagree with me on this. However, I know how he saved me that day. I also know how much he loves our sons. I watch him with them and I am so glad that they have such a strong father in their lives. They will always feel loved by him. I know how loved I feel when those arms wrap around my shoulders. There is nothing in the world that is better than finding your place of safety.
Mine is in my husbands arms.
I am the luckiest woman alive.
I am confident in the bond that our $40 wedding bands signifies.
That we are strong-We won't be in the 80%.
Take that you awful statistic- you won't get us! Not on my watch!