When Taking Care of Your Child Looks Like Something Else

Originally published on July 7, 2013

If you have known me for less than 5 years, you may not know that my God-given skin tone looks like a ghost...eating mayo...under a flourescent light.  My husband calls it "pasty".  I prefer the term "porcelain".  I used a tanning bed for years to look darker, until I started to see visible skin damage.  The older you get, the less invincible you feel - realizing that skin cancer may not just be something other people get.  So now I spray tan.  Recent studies suggest that this may be bad for me too, but at least for now, I feel better about it than fakin' bakin'.  It's vane, it's not the best use of my money; but it makes me feel better about getting up in front of a class in exercise clothes every day.  So I indulge in this bit of high maintenance.  

My husband knows that because we are in the throws of summer, I have no time to myself for personal errands.  Because of Allie's age and Shelby's disabilities, I cannot leave them alone for even a few minutes.  So I am having trouble fitting in my spray tan sessions.  *Gasp*  I know.  End of the first world, right?  Well, my sweet husband has been going out of his way to make sure I can fit this in when he can be with the kids.  It's not convenient.  It takes away from family time a bit, but he knows that as silly as it is, it's important to me.  This, my virtual friends, is filling my love tank.  A love tank is a symbolic picture used by counselors and marriage workshops to explain how to keep the home fires burning.  When Chuck is constantly doing thoughtful things for me and saying things that make me feel good, my love tank stays full and I never run out of "love feelings" for him.  He is good at this.  I am trying to keep up with him and fill his tank on a regular basis.  

As I have mentioned on this blog before, divorce rates in families with a special needs child are insanely high.  Chuck and I believe that one of the best things we can do for Shelby - and our other children - is to take care of our relationship.  Now, I know many single parents out there who are raising their special kiddos on their own.  And hear me when I say that you are my heroes.  God has called you to an important task and he can equip you with everything you need to be both mom and dad.  And I am amazed at what you are able to accomplish and pray for your strength and stamina along the way.  But because I have a supportive and helpful husband, I want to keep him around.  For us, this journey is richer because we are together.  Dating, flirting and acts of service are ways of taking care of our marriage.  But they are also ways of taking care of our children.  

"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion."  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a