There is a familiarity with my breakfast that I crave, much like the ease of being with my husband who knows all of my quirks and points attention to them in the light-hearted way I’ve grown to love. I've found that humor can bridge the gaps in a strained marriage because, with or without a special needs child, hard times are an expected part of any relationship. Too bad for my husband that I can't reciprocate the humor, although he does appreciate my donkey laugh.
Doesn’t the true test of a marriage come in the hard times? It’s easier to have a thriving marriage in healthier and richer times. Maybe that’s why so many couples are choosing to stay childless to better their odds. Marriage isn't a guarantee that two people will parent cohesively or manage the stress the same. Just look at the increased divorce rate among parents with special needs children. I was reading some member bios on an autism support website and one woman wrote that she was "single but married." For me, I'd describe it more like "married but single" but I understood her point that she was disconnected from her spouse. I, too, have felt the solitude in a “married but single” existence with a spouse who's teetered in and out of denial about our son's diagnosis.
I'm slowly, very slowly, coming out of that unconscious and disconnected state that kept me confined to the iron cage. The dark period where I had my game face on, unable to separate my two personae that were so engrained. There was the outer me, smiling through the tears, and the inner me, struggling to cope with an idyllic life turned upside down. I still have a hard time even looking at old family pictures because the images represent a life that doesn't exist anymore. There's a kind of mourning that's set in and I'm not sure it will ever go away. But life is too short to stay unconscious.
(CAUTION: For Women Only)
"I'm afraid I'm the bearer of bad news," he said as he surveyed the worried faces. "The only hope left for your loved one at this time is a brain transplant. It's an experimental procedure, very risky, but it is the only hope. Insurance will cover the procedure, but you will have to pay for the brain yourselves."
The family members sat silently , absorbing the news, until someone asked, "Well, how much does a brain cost?"
The doctor quickly responded, "$25,000 for a male brain, and $5,000 for a female brain."
The moment turned awkward. Men in the room tried not to smile, avoiding eye contact with the women, but some actually smirked. A man unable to control his curiosity, blurted out the question everyone wanted to ask, "Why is the male brain so much more?"
The doctor smiled and explained to the entire group, "It's just standard pricing procedure. The male’s brain has hardly been used.”
(I hope I haven't alienated all the males.)