Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
My husband and I have been married 51.01 Kardashians (that is equal to 10 year for those of you that are not pop culture savvy). That is quite the feat considering all that we have stacked against us. We were married before we turned twenty, we are a military family that has done numerous deployments, and we are raising three children with special needs.
In the beginning of our marriage, stolen kisses in the super market and little love notes were the norm. We worked together but still wanted to spend time with each other when we got home. Although we struggled financially, we had each other and that was all we needed.
Things went along this path after we welcomed our two daughters, until our lives hit a snag. There was something wrong with our youngest daughter that the doctors couldn’t explain. Now my time was split between showering my family with affection and searching for answers. The once elaborate halfway boxes that I spent months working on for deployments, became generic, not because of lack of love, but because of lack of time. Nights that in the past had been spent cuddling on the couch were replaced by me sitting at the computer researching everything I could to help our daughter.
This became our new norm.
In the span of 2 years, we welcomed a son; our eldest was diagnosed with the same issue as our younger daughter; our son was diagnosed as well a few months later; and then he was diagnosed with Autism. It was a crazy few years.
With all these new diagnoses, my husband was deployed. He was doing his part to ensure that we had a roof over our head, food in our bellies, and insurance to cover the medical bills. My role went from the creator of crafting ideas, to chief of damage control. I was no longer the fun, easy going wife and mom; I became mom to three kids with special needs that happened to be married.
Over the years our roles have changed, and so have we. We were no longer just husband and wife, we are battle buddies. Wars have been waged (and won) against insurance and doctors. Our conversations are no longer about our dreams, what interesting thing we have read, or about a new movie hitting the theater, instead they are about a doctor in New York, or a research grant in Oregon.
The stress at times was palpable in the house. Yet somehow, through it all, we have stuck it out. I no longer get stolen kisses in the super market, but instead I get coy remarks about my awesomeness at getting what our kids need. At times I miss who we were 10 years ago, but what we have now is stronger than I could have ever pictured. We are now an unstoppable team.
Miranda is a Navy wife and mother to three kids: Hailey, Josie and Teague. All three have a swallowing disorder, Teague has ASD and Josie has Chiari. She was recently diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Miranda is the VP of Community Outreach for the Military Special Needs Network. You can contact her at MirandaFort@MilitarySpecialNeedsNetwork.com
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