“On Valentine’s Day” – Nathan

Nathan and his family sitting on a couch

“On Valentine’s Day” – Nathan

Well, it’s here friends, February 14th , and according to the automatic reminder on my phone, that means it is time to stop at the store and give Hallmark their due for the year.  Now I am not saying that I am not romantic, but I am a guy, so romantic is a relative term.  So, what does cupid, romance, and Hallmark have to do with a life full of craziness and creatinies?  Well, as it turns out, not as much as one would hope but more than I could have ever imagined.  Hopefully this makes sense to those of you adventurous enough to follow along with my regular postings.  Basically, I would like to take a few minutes to talk about the relationship that I have with my Valentine of almost sixteen years, and how that relationship was not just shaped, but defined, by an alteration of one tiny little piece of genetic material.

Nathan and wife on first anniversaryTo start off, my wife and I find ourselves on the wrong side of every marriage statistic that I have ever seen.  At least one of us dealt with a parental divorce growing up, I have been a frequent traveler with the military for many years, we have a large number of children, and of course, those amazing kids also have amazingly complex medical issues.  Ok, so for all you statisticians out there, please don’t even tell me the odds, I know they are not good, but honestly, we have been disproving statistics for years.

So, what makes us different and why do I think we are able to beat the odds?  Well, put simply, my wife has an unbelievable husband!  Just kidding, the real reason is that we have truly gotten to the point that I think many fail to reach, my wife and I have truly become partners.  We love, lean, depend, trust, and rely on each other every single day, but what we don’t necessarily do every day is like each other.  Somedays I have a tendency to say the wrong thing and guess what?  My wife gets mad at me!  The key is that during those times of disharmony, we are still a rock-solid team.  I noticed this a few weeks ago when I said something that I probably shouldn’t have, and then failed to apologize even though I should have.  This particular event happened after an already tiring day and just before the work of the evening began.  Despite being unhappy, we naturally continued “partner” mode and worked together just like always.  Medicines were given, pumps got prepped, kids got carried to bed, we communicated openly and easily, nothing missed a beat due to our unhappiness because, honestly, it can’t.

Nathan and wife holding baby in hospitalWhen our third child received the diagnoses of CTD, I realized that I would have to give up on the idea of the world revolving around me, it never would and it never will.  Now it sometimes takes a few days for me to fully admit that I was wrong, but we get over whatever issues we had and we move on.  We make up and I am not ashamed to admit it, we go back to two crazy kids in love.  We never try to artificially stop having little squabbles though, because these are both natural and necessary as they allow us to continue to strengthen our relationship.

Now I am not holding my relationship with my wife up on some kind of pedestal, instead I think that we are probably very typical in the realm of couples with amazingly unique gifts.  I am instead writing this post to give hope to the young couple who may get the world changing news tomorrow that their lives have already changed and they didn’t even know it.

To that couple I will give the following bits of Valentine’s day advice.

– You know how you always hear “don’t sweat the small stuff” in relationships?  Get ready for the paradox where you really can’t sweat the small stuff, but at the same time, the small stuff is big stuff, so good luck.

– The two of you are all you have.  This is not to sound grim, but at the end of the day, the world is going to keep spinning on, and only the two of you will truly appreciate both the challenge and the blessing of your family.

– Accept an offer for help, sometimes your partner will see things in you that you don’t see in yourself, and that includes the need to take a break.

– Sometimes when you feel like you have absolutely no more to give, you will be asked to give more, don’t hesitate.  This especially applies to your partnership.  If life is crazy and you feel like you need a lift, the person next to you probably feels the same.

– Selflessness doesn’t come naturally to most.  I am not sure about everyone else, but I mess this up almost every day, the trick is to never stop trying.

– Your definition of romance may change, but never, ever give up on being romantic.

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