Sharing some of my MS experience

Single parenting when your wife has MS

I have noticed that the best time in the day for me to get messages and inspiration from Spirit is right after I have awakened, but before I have begun trying to get physically moving. 

The ideas, messages and insights that I get at this time are often quite inspirational and make good sense.  I have had realizations about my family, my marriage, some friendships (which to leave alone and which to persue), and whether to try to keep working on my own or file for disablity.  Each of these messages have come to me like a lightning strike — in the midst of moving down the hallway between my bedroom and the bathroom.

I had two of them today; one about my husband and one about the best way for me to deal with/face the current overall status of my health.  This is about the first one; I will write later about the second one. 

In the midst of my physical challenges, I am limited to watching as my husband takes our daughter to her basketball practices and games (in two leagues!), Junior Girl Scout activities and her slumber parties, and our son to his basketball games (one league thankfully!), birthday parties, Boy Scout activities and camp-outs (he’s a patrol leader), not to mention school every day.  Because my husband works from home, his schedule can be fairly flexible, which is a real blessing, since he also takes me to physical therapy twice a week.  But especially with the economy tightening, and despite his 30 years of service to this one employer (30 years!), my husband, like many people, cannot rely upon work continuing as it has for the past few years.  There is such attention paid to every move that is made,  and every project has either been moved offshore for cost reduction purposes, or put on “temporary hold”.  Managing the resulting stress is a big challenge for him, and with my income at zero, managing our family economy has been a big stressor.

Our children have been real troopers for the past year.  They have done a good job managing their own expectations, and what they ask of us, and have really greeted the changes in our family (fewer and less grand vacations, not out to dinner as frequently, no expensive field trips for example…)  with openness and patience. 

Parenting from a scooter – and without being able to move quickly to be in the kids’ space when needed, has resulted in me being more creative in my relationship with them, and with my husband.  I simply cannot physically be the same type of parent as I was in their first years.  The question I now ask, is how do I remain a large part of their lives when I cannot show up at school unexpectedly, or decide at the last-minute to surprise them with an activity, or walk up to them and simply hug them or kiss them good night as they drift off to sleep?  What about my husband who has to fill that physical space left by my absence and keep his own relationship with them?

I am learning that despite the fact that he does things very differently than I, my husband is a wonderful parent, who is helping both of our children learn about themselves and the world.  My own father was a great man who parented much differently than my mother, and between them I remember it being a great balance.  The realization I had this morning is that I have to accept and celebrate the difference between my husband’s parenting style and my own – I must stop trying to control the spaces between our styles, and just let them be.  Our kids will appreciate that much more than they would appreciate my constantly trying to control everything that happens in their lives.  I need to relax and let them be.  That will be a gift to my entire family…


March 25, 2009 Posted by | African American health, effect of chronic illness on family, multiple sclerosis, parenting, Uncategorized, women's health | | Leave a comment