Thursday, June 24, 2010

Glad to be sharing the journey

Almost from the moment we met, Mike and I were inseparable.  Almost ten years later, we're still that way.  We might be physically apart due to work or other normal commitments, but we generally talk several times each day and almost always know where the other one is and what they are doing.  We don't really have many friends that we do things we do everything together.  Odd?  Maybe.  But its who we are.

Six years ago, Mike and I had never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder.  We had an infant baby girl that we named Jennica, which means "Gift from God."  (And she has been a gift in so many ways.)  And through her, we have come to experience SPD.  Not as a next-door neighbor.  Not as an Aunt and Uncle.  Not even as casual acquaintances.  But as parents. 

Our experience with our diagnosis and discovery of SPD is pretty typical to the journey of many parents.  A child that fussed more than usual, and was ever-so-slightly behind on certain milestones.  Never enough to really draw attention, but just enough behind to raise a few half-hearted red flags.  Looking back, the subtle signs were there.  But were they glaringly obvious?  Definitely not.  If we could go back knowing what we know now?  I'm still not sure that we would have reached a diagnosis sooner than age 4.  The signs, in our particular case, were just too subtle. 

In any case, I'm so grateful that we're walking this journey together.  When Jennica first visited Mary Bridge at 8 months of age, we went together.  When she was sedated for some early blood tests, we were there together.  We've both attended preschool, Day Care field trips, and we've sat together through IEP meetings.  It took some horrific scheduling, but we even attended the first 10 or so occupational therapy appointments together after she was diagnosed.  When she underwent extensive testing this last winter for seizures and sleep disorders, we did it all together.  (Still grateful that neither of us attempted to endure that 48-hour EEG alone!)  We attended the neurology appointments for results of the testing together.  We attended her eye therapy appointments together.  And even last night, as we sat and debated whether or not to continue soccer, we made the decision together.  (It went better the third night, by the way.  Thanks, in large part, to Mike's intervention.)

Mike and I bring very different skills and life experiences to the parenting table.  Neither of us is the "heavy", while the other is the "push-over."  We take turns on the discipline.  We take turns reading stories at bedtime.  We take turns shopping for gluten-free/casein-free/egg-free/peanut-free food.  And we take turns feeling frustrated, inspired, encouraged, and defeated. 
No matter what turn the roller coaster takes in a day, or how many turns it takes that day, I'm always grateful to be sharing this journey of parenthood.  Some days I'm uncertain of what the future holds, but I'm always always always certain that Mike was meant to be Jennica's Dad. 


Wendy said...

We must be weird then too....I married my HS sweetie and we mostly just hang out with each other and our kids.

K- floortime lite mama said...

what a lovely story
I Love the whole tone of your blog

Caitlin Wray said...

What a beautiful post to go with your beautiful family! Great dads make ALL the difference :)


Heather B said...

what a beautiful post! Looks like an amazing family you have.

Patty O. said...

Terrific post! I too am so grateful I have had my husband by my side, especially through all the SPD and autism stuff. I don't know what I would do without him.

Lea said...

Thank you for sharing your amazing story.

Tammy said...

It's amazing how close we can get with our spouses when we focus on the needs of our child.

Alysia said...

great post. it is amazing how sometimes the hardest things bring us closer together with our spouses. Thanks for sharing.