One thing I’ve noticed is that the many writers here on Chosen Families tell wonderful stories. They really invite us into their lives, sharing the names of their children and honest details about what it’s like living with their particular loved one and their particular disability.
My life is somewhat different. I have three beautiful, neuro-typical children ages 9 – 14. This year, my baby is in elementary school, my boy is in middle school, and my eldest daughter just started high school. Whew! We certainly go through the gamut of emotions and experiences in our house. In one day, I can go from calming a tantrum of a nine-year old with a boo-boo (yes, some fourth graders still go ballistic when they get hurt) to introducing my son to acne medication to listening to my oldest share her heart about her latest crush…all within three minutes! But the fact is, my children are not struggling with their own disabilities. I don’t fear for their futures. I am not anxious about their ability to care for themselves or make wise decisions. Our unique homelife has made my children independent. Because they have a working mother and a sick father, they know how to clothe and feed themselves and they even take full ownership of their homework and their learning experiences.
Photo by HelensPhotography, proud grandmother and portrait photographer
Yet our homelife is far from normal. Seizures cause my husband to lack energy and the ability to think clearly. Medication to control his seizures can make him sluggish and even more prone to anger (yes, there is one very effective seizure medication where “rage” is a listed side effect). And brain injury has robbed my husband of his working memory and his executive function. These three factors work together to make our homelife…well, unstable. My desire is to make our life as easy and stress-free as possible. Our kids don’t participate in many activities. We need routine to make life workable. But I don’t write much about the toll Ben’s brain injury takes on our family, because I want to protect my husband, whom I love. I want to encourage him when I see him doing well. I want him to find things he loves to do, even if they sometimes leave him feeling depleted and weak.
It’s easy to get discouraged. Even a small seizure can zap my husband’s energy and compromise his already weakened memory for several weeks. We can’t predict the seizures or prepare for them. And when a period of time goes by and my husband is seizure free, it’s easy to forget how debilitating these brain-storms can be.
How thankful I am that God promises to be our anchor in the storm, the stability of our times, our Rock, our Salvation, and our stronghold. And how thankful I am to know that there is a community of saints praying for my children, that their own unique struggles with their father’s hidden disability will draw them closer to the God who loves them.