Daniel stayed with the kids yesterday while Rache & I met Jeni for pedicures for her birthday. It was a well needed break on my end and a well needed day with the kids on his end. He said it was the best he had in a long time.
I look at Daniel lately and often wonder what his mind is telling him about being Mabel's dad. What is he thinking as he works, drives, or drifts off to sleep? Does he wonder or worry about her future? Is he sad for her or for himself? Does he grieve moments with her or fear that they won't come?
We talk about it, sure. We talk about it often. But I can see him rising up for me lately and so I'm left to wonder what his spirit is saying to him about our girl.
Last night we stayed up late and had a good talk. Mostly, he listened. He told me that he is trying hard to see my needs and to meet them. He told me that he thinks about Mabel constantly and it breaks his heart that he can't 'fix' this for her or for us. I told him that no one ever intended for him to fix it and I could see that he felt peace in hearing that. We hugged-a gentle, unspoken hug of gratitude.
No one goes into a marriage preparing for a child who has special needs. We talked about it in passing--how we would love and embrace a special child. We would do whatever it took. But no one ever thinks it's going to truly happen to them. And now, we are the them. It's our reality. I looked at him last night and I realized that we truly are in this together. It goes unspoken every day. His heart melts into mine when it comes to these kids. We can fight day in and day out but ultimately, we were in love before they came along and we are still in love now. I looked him in the eyes knowingly. Just knowing.
He knows me too. We are hanging in there everyday, just pulling through this stretch of our marriage and parenting. I pray we are pulling through it connected and strong. The truth is, our dedication lies with Mabel right now. And that is what is so special about this man--he understands that and that too, goes unsaid. He wants the best for our children and right now our priorities are just different. And they may forever be different but that is ok too. We are not who we once were...just young kids in love.
My heart breaks for him as Mabel's daddy because I just can't ever experience the things he must be feeling or thinking, just as he cannot with me. It makes me sad in that aspect. But I do know that we are trying very hard everyday to stay tuned in to one another and to talk through it. Our kids have each tied us together in new and unique ways. Mabel is no different. This marriage, this man, myself--we have evolved and matured in the last few months. There are things that we have encountered and still may encounter that are hard and heartbreaking. But we have done it and still managed to do so with a deep faith in God and a deep love for one another. I'm really thankful for that.
I'm also thankful for days when he feels accomplished as a dad--when he has made his kids laugh and goes to bed happy. I'm thankful for a few hours away with the girls to reflect, laugh and connect. It's so important to me not to lose that during this time. Most of all, I am thankful for the Lord. For His mercy and goodness. For His knowing and His understanding. I am thankful for this life, these kids and these days--more than ever, I am thankful.