Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Valentine

I have a secret weapon. He is known in our college town as “Dr. Andy.” Just about everyone I meet seems to know him. Substitute “Dr. Andy” for “Kevin Bacon” and “Davis” for “Hollywood”, and it’s more like two degrees of separation. Life with a local celebrity is never boring and most always entertaining. But what I love most about watching Andy be “Dr. Andy” around town is knowing that he comes home with me.

A while back, I came across a divorce statistic of parents of kids with disabilities -- somewhere around 85%. Imagining why the rate is higher than average isn’t difficult. A strong, healthy marriage is vital when you have a child like our Jukie. We need,
need each other. Our family dynamic and stress strengthen our bond. Disabilityscoop reports a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders that mothers of children with autism experience a level of chronic stress so high as to be comparable to the level of stress combat soldiers experience. This level of daily, cumulative stress affects just about every area of health and life.

In our family, we don’t even bother with modesty when we call what we do with our son Jukie: Superhero Parenting. Jukie’s brother and sister are likewise superhero siblings. As Geneva says, “we’re like the Incredibles!” Of course, this developed through necessity, rather than by design or from a radiation experiment gone awry. Families like ours have to be stronger and work together. Maybe that’s why Andy’s “Dr. Andy” persona cracks me up so much. It’s fitting that he would be known and loved everywhere he goes in Davis. I swear, he may as well wear a cape. And when he walks in the door of our home… that’s when the fun truly begins. The magic he works with Jukie is just that good. No one makes Jukie laugh harder or behave better than his daddy, the Jukie Whisperer.

Although he bristles at the description, I am, in fact, married to a nearly perfect husband. Sure, he’s a human being with flaws (and even his flaws are minor). But as a husband, Dr. Andy gets an A+ from me. And I ought to know, right?

So how does he earn this distinction? From the day we met 22 years ago, Andy has supported my hopes and dreams. He told me that he wanted me on this life-journey with him, but allowed me a little space and time to catch up to his wise view of our future together. Anything that is truly important to me is therefore important to him. Andy tries each day to make my life easier. He does this in all sorts of small ways: making sure I catch a little more sleep in the morning, bringing me a glass of water each night, or encouraging me to spend time with my girlfriends. If everyone in the world treated others as Andy treats me, the world would be in damn good shape. It adds up to one fabulous life with my super heroic husband.

On this, our 22nd Valentine’s Day together, I wish to thank my wonderful valentine for all that he does for and with me and our three children.

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