"Our Son Is Disabled and It's Tearing Us Apart"

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Her Turn, Continued

"Brad and I met at a happy hour in New York City's financial district. I was working at a Wall Street bank and he was an associate at a law firm. I'd recently broken up with a long-term boyfriend and had no interest in dating, but Brad was smart and charming and clearly a rising star at his firm. After turning him down four times, I finally said yes. We'd been dating just a few weeks when I had a minor car accident that left me with a mild concussion. When Brad heard about it, he immediately took off work to be with me. That's when I truly fell in love with him. Within a year we were married. Six months later, we bought a house in the suburbs, and a year after that, Kyle was born.

"These days Kyle is my rock, even though he's only 9. When his dad is passed out on the couch he'll help with the twins without being asked, and he can make me laugh when I'm really down. But he can turn on a dime, going from sweet and loving to surly and obnoxious. His grades have slipped this year and his hockey coach has had to bench him several times for mouthing off to the referee. Plus, he and Brad butt heads all the time. It's not hard to see why -- Brad's idea of a friendly game of catch is to criticize the way Kyle holds the football. My husband was a star athlete and Kyle isn't. Who cares?

"I'm also worried about the twins. When they write stories in kindergarten, the characters often get sick or die. We explain that we love Luke and that he's as happy as he can be, and that nothing will happen to them. But Brad and I need to do more to reassure them, and that's hard when we're not speaking.

"In the terrible year after Luke was born, when I spent most days in tears, Brad was wonderful, the one person who could comfort me. Now we're at each other's throats 24/7. I barely recognize the person I've become, screaming and cursing at my husband, often in front of the children. Something has to change, but nothing ever does. Oh, except for one minor detail: Brad just announced that he's lost interest in his job and is taking a leave of absence! Could there be a worse moment for such a major decision? The decision we should be making is whether to transfer Luke to a care facility. Sadly, we're past the point of having a civilized conversation about that or anything else."

Continued on page 3:  His Turn

 

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