It’s always been the mom who is the hero when it comes to discussions about caring for a child with disability. It may be because moms are the primary caregivers and ones who are always there with the child. It may also be due to the fact that moms are more vocal than the dads. For this, I feel that dads are unknowingly pushed out of the picture.
This is why I decided to write this post about my husband.
My husband is a naturally timid guy. I am the more vocal one. He is generally laid back and I am the more proactive one (or so I think). He doesn’t appear to be exhausted and I am the one who’s prone to depression.
In this journey of raising our child with disability, I never once heard him complain about how exhausted he is or how depressed he feels. He certainly is a man of few words (or sometimes no words at all!). There are times when I mistake his silence for not caring or for being apathetic. I wanted him to get involved more.
What I fail to realize is that he’s already doing enough, if not more. Being the sole breadwinner of the family, I know he feels the weight of the responsibility of maintaining the household. I know he also feels overwhelmed whenever Miguel is sick.
During those times when Miguel had to be hospitalized, he was the one going back and forth between the hospital and our house. While I was busy caring for Miguel in the hospital, he was the one caring for our three older girls. He was the one cooking, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, etc. These were in addition to his long days at work.
Amidst all the chaos when Miguel’s seizures were frequent and difficult, I came to know my husband all over again. Together in the emergency room, we saw each other’s strengths as well as our own weaknesses.
He may be a man of few words but he certainly is a man of action. He never fails to support us in all the ways that the head of a family should — materially, emotionally, and spiritually.
One time, while looking at him sleeping by Miguel’s hospital bed, I couldn’t help but see not a timid and shy guy but the father of my children who has stood by me no matter what. A man who may speak a few words but has done a lot of things to keep our family intact.
In the days when I am wallowing in loneliness and depression, his calm and quiet demeanor helps me get through them. I know he’s exhausted, too. But he never let that exhaustion make him give up on us nor drift away.
I came to the realization that in this fight, we are partners and not enemies. We are team mates and not opponents. One is weaker without the other. I am definitely weaker without him.
This is for our family’s silent hero.