Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another Season

I finished reading a book while were on vacation. It's interesting how that came about, really. Of course with me everything has a story.

In reading another blog recently, the mama was talking about how the daddy just didn't seem to react the same as she did/has to their son's Ds diagnosis. That's simplifying things greatly, but if you read the same blogs I read, it may sound familiar.

When I read her words, I could completely relate. And when I commented on that post, I was talking to myself as much as I was to her.

BD and I handle/relate to Playette's dx completely differently. We each play a role, as I've mentioned before. Perhaps some think we balance each other out well, though I happen to covet his emotional stability and on-top-of-it-ness.

The way he sees things (which can be perceived by me as not seeing things) is just different than the way that I do. I remember when Playette was born and we were worried about what was going on with her heart, along with just learning that she had Ds. There are many details that I don't recall (though I wish I could), but one thing that is clear in my mind to this day is the way BD said, "I don't care if she's not like other kids. I just want her to be ok."

And that pretty much sums it up. At least from my perspective. I don't know what he holds to himself, but from what I see, he takes it all in stride. He laughs, plays, lives with her without worrying about the same kinds of things that I do. While she's our baby girl and we both love her dearly, I honestly feel like BD doesn't see Ds and its effects on us and other people the way I do.

All that to say that sometimes I wish he did. From time to time, I want him to feel what I feel so that I know I'm not in this alone emotionally.

So what did I do? I bought him a book.

Enter Another Season.

If there's anything that BD likes, it's football. No, wait, he loves football. And when I saw that famed NFL and college coach Gene Stallings had written a book about his experiences with his son John Mark Stallings, who happened to have Ds, I thought I had hit the motherload.

This book, this would be our ticket to same-pagedom.

Yeah, that didn't quite work. He read some of it, but mostly it sat. So, eventually, I picked it up. I'd read a few pages at a time, always leaving it where I found it, thinking that BD would pick it up and be a little further along the next time I sought out my place holder.

I wasn't going to force it. Really, what would be the point. So I told myself that during our trip, I would finish that book.

It's pretty straight-forward, really, and a pretty quick read. It tells of a young, growing family and how they dealt with a surprise diagnosis at a time (Johnny was born in 1962) where many, many people chose to institutionalize their children with disabilities. During the first couple of years of his life, they feared that each day would be his last due to his heart defect. In many ways, the Stallings' were blazing the trail for families like ours. Gene had a high-pressure job and the family moved several few times in the effort to take advantage of various career-building opportunities. They spoke of family dynamics, education, friendships, and more. I enjoyed reading about the impact that Johnny had not only on his family, but also his community. He was friends with people whose names I recognized. I felt like I would have liked Johnny. I surely respected the family.

Here's a story that was done about the family several years ago. The book is pretty much an expansion of this.

It's not that I want every book I read from here on out to be about Ds, but I do like seeing the different perspectives.

And you know what, whenever I had a question about a football reference, BD was right there to answer it for me.

Basically, he's not me. He's not supposed to be. But he gives me the support that I need and I appreciate that. I need to remind myself of that more often. We're both new to all of this and we'll grow together.


Lisa said...

Hmmm, I wonder whose blog you were referring to . . .

Yeah, I don't know, Chrystal. I think it may be the fundamental differences between men and women, or maybe just the fundamental differences between us and them, specifically. As for me, I'm really okay with M having his own perspective about Finn's Ds and all, I just want to understand where he's coming from, as much as I want him to understand where I'm coming from. As with all marriages, it's a work in progress.

I'm looking forward to reading the book :)