I planned every part of our wedding, down to the very last pink rose petal that dropped on the white floor that led to the gazebo we married under. Although, I didn't plan for the beautiful monarch that landed in my bouquet, and stayed there until the end of the outside ceremony, but let's just call that an added bonus (look in the upper left of my flowers). Maybe the butterfly was my mother enjoying the wedding, or maybe it was a sign of things to come.
The night was amazing. It was filled with love between Mike, and myself, and love coming from our friends and family. It also came with one heckalacious hangover on our way to Mexico thanks to the ever flowing river of Champagne the night before. Somehow it seemed my glass was always being refilled. Nevertheless we had an amazing time filled with the most lovely memories.
Mike made me feel safe, he made me feel ........beautiful. When we got married I knew we would have children, and probably pretty quickly. His parents are in their late seventies, and he had already expressed he wanted his mother to see her grandchild. We originally talked about having two kids, and I had such expectations. When I found out I was pregnant we were both thrilled, and soon after arrived.........our little Jude. When we were told at 19 weeks that Jude may have suffered a "remote bleed", we never put together what those words truly meant. We had no idea what that diagnosis meant for Jude, or our marriage. When we were told there was a "chance" our child could have special needs..........we had no idea what that truly meant. All we thought of was the son we already loved so very much.
This past weekend I was at a function where I had an elderly lady come up to me, and she approached me with an interesting question. She had heard our story, and she grabbed me tightly around the waist... which freaked me out a bit. I am a "keep out of my bubble" type of person. Although she intrigued me so I listened. She said, "I am sorry to hear about your son". For the first time I heard myself instantly responded, "why?". She paused..........and she looked at me, and she said "how would you describe your sons suffering in a way others not going through this would understand". I paused for a bit to gather my thoughts, and I searched my brain for the proper answer. A picture I had snapped while laying in my bed of Jude's crib came to my mind. "That while dreaming of the child we were going to have I never expected to see an IV pole above his crib every night..........and that he doesn't deserve that." I felt like I was watching the Karate Kid, she shook her head yes, and patted my arm in a positive manner. "Exactly, and that's why I am sorry". She started to walk away, but I grabbed her arm in a tender manner. " but ......... even with his IV pole he has helped more people, and spread more understanding about life in general than any of us EVER will". She grabbed my hand, and she said "I know". I found out later that she ............. had a child with special needs ;). She got it.
So last night Mike looked at me and was telling me how much he loved me, and how happy he was our anniversary was going to be today. He said "In our world it always rains, it's just a matter of finding the best umbrella, and making it work, and I think we have done that". That's why I love him. I know my close family and friends have been so aggravated at Mike this past year for yelling, and being so easily upset. Goodness knows I have too, but during this year I have reminded myself that this man deals with more than most people would ever think about handling. He is my right hand, he is my love. He is my pain in my patootey some times, but he gets it. A lot of men cannot fathom the idea of being a stay at home dad, and I even know a few that have tried and said "forget it!". Mike not only has stayed home, but he has cleaned up vomit more times than anyone can imagine. Think of feeding a child that barely gets enough nutrients only to have them throw up all over you, the floor, their sheets, and more three to four times a day. This after you have sat trying to feed him with a bottle for hours. Mike made sure all Jude's medications were delivered everyday on an exact schedule. He would get Jude to therapy, to the doctor, to the ER if needed, and handle more seizures than one person should. In the hospital he has slept on two chairs pushed together with his large 6'1 frame. He has eaten countless trays of hospital food, and gone sleepless as much as I have. He has held Jude down for countless blood draws, and IV lines. He has calculated food amounts in Jude's feeding tube, and done more medical research than many nurses. After a week of keeping a baby all day long he would keep him again on the weekend while I sold Scentsy, or marketed Em's Smile Box campaign. Mike says I am a shark, and that if I quit swimming....I will die. He is probably right, so he just supports me the best he can. Every night when he comes to bed Mike snuggles next to me, regardless of what time it is, and says he loves me. He tells me I am beautiful on a frequent basis, and how lucky he is to have me. Yeah, remember that buddy, haha. Anyway, tonight he made plans for us, which impressed me. He worked for his friend to get some gift certificates for dinner to a place in Roanoke I have wanted to try, and he even arranged for our nurse to stay late to watch Jude. It was such a nice gesture.
I have faith we will make it through this long hard road ahead of us with Jude's tiny hand, and Emily's too. Thanks Mike for being my husband. I love you "to" much. Happy Anniversary!