Once upon a time there was a shy girl (that's me, your mommy) and a handsome young man (that's daddy) that met by chance one night out with friends. We were younger and perhaps a few pounds lighter, care free and quickly fell madly in love with each other! A few years went by and we got married and started our very own beautiful family (that's where you come in...). Life was (and still is) fantastic, but it doesn't mean it doesn't present a fair amount of challenges.
There's a very famous quote by Joshua J. Marine..."Challenges are what makes life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."
Parents of children with special needs face some very harsh realities that can become emotionally overwhelming to say the least. Actually, Dad and I feel as if we are being tested on a daily basis. For example, with finances. We are very blessed & daddy works very hard to support our family, but despite that, a significant amount of your therapy isn't covered under insurance, which would strain anyone's budget (not to mention the sensory toys and equipment we have to assist with your expression, development and enjoyment as you grow...).
Our self esteem takes a hit when we question ourselves on decisions we make, where often times "I" will blame myself for things that cause you anxiety or struggles (see letter from two weeks ago!). Our faith and spirituality will be questioned (right, wrong, or indifferent). "Why" will be muttered more times than I'd like to admit and we will learn extraordinary patience as we watch it all play out in real time. Our social life will take a back seat. Just gathering with friends can become a game of man on man defense making sure you don't unexpectedly make your exit, or destroy our friend's house! Not exactly relaxing and quite frankly keeps everyone on their toes!
All these things and more can provide tremendous amounts of stress in a marriage, and the statistics are pretty scary for those that can't seem to navigate through them. The love they once fell head over heels for, has become more like a relationship of a coworker in the next cubicle and maybe even one that has stole their stapler a time or two! Addie, your mommy and daddy refuse to be coworkers in cubicles (daddy much prefers a corner office anyway :))!!!
So, you may be wondering, what is the magic keeping our love fresh and exciting!? Well... no, this is not that kind of letter my dear... but one key ingredient is... amazing babysitters! No, seriously! We have been blessed with a few key people in our lives that "get" you and love you so very much & allow Daddy and I to get some much needed time to stay connected and out of "co-worker" mode.
You see Addie, one day when all of our current stresses and challenges are gone, and you three are grown up with your own families (or whatever the future holds for you and your brother & sister), it will be just mommy and daddy again - like it was in the beginning. We are making sure that we maintain that "head over heals" in love feeling like we had many years ago, and time together is so important to making that happen.
We need time to ourselves to continually remind us of the love that brought us together.
We need time to celebrate overcoming the challenges that created those meaningful moments.
We need time to look at our crazy life and say to one another "there's no one else I'd rather be doing this with" (TRUTH).
We need that time together. It's important.
It's also just as important for you to learn your independence away from mommy and daddy (TRUTH x 2)
We've been so lucky to have a few really good sitters, but today I want to tell you about one...
The one the only Miss Caitlin (insert sparkles, and fireworks - this lady is amazing...)! We met Miss Caitlin way back before you were born. She was a recommendation from a friend who claimed she's "the best of the best!" I stand by this claim 100%!
After our tours of New York, and Texas (eh, what's four years?) and we finally moved back to the area, I contacted her, just by chance to see if she'd may be interested in sitting for us on occasion again?!?! (Now keep in mind she is not a teenager anymore, is currently in the throws of "adulting", so I figured the odds weren't exactly in our favor). But to my surprised she said YES! And she simply couldn't wait to see how you - the baby Addie she once knew had grown up after all these years.
She jumped back into our lives without skipping a beat and seems to still hold this amazingly, unique connection with not only you, but Clara and Gabe as well. And that's very important! She's like our very own Mary Poppins minus the umbrella and fancy hats! Her bag may be far more bohemian like, but I still feel like at any time she's going to pull a coat rack or lamp out! She has endless amounts of energy, a playful spirit, a natural gift of compassion and understanding, all while holding a similar responsibility as that of a parent - I promise you she's going to be an amazing mother one day!
I must admit, I'm a little sad because I know our days with her are numbered. Our lovely Miss Caitlin is writing a new chapter in her life this year becoming a blushing bride herself. As she starts her own story, we feel forever blessed that she was able to be part of ours. And she will always hold a special place in our OTOD.
So having our very own Mary Poppins in our lives has allowed us to take a step back and breath in the predictably unpredictable nature of our journey. Relishing in the meaningfulness of challenges we've conquered and remind ourselves of the love we have for one another.
She is very special to us and as Mary Poppins herself would say... "she's practically perfect in every way!"
So Addie, we are so happy that you have had the opportunity to know Miss Caitlin as "big girl" Addie now :) she's super fun and truly has a special gift! We couldn't be happier that she's shared it with us.