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Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad

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My girlfriend Kelly

A long time ago in a lifetime pretty far away I had this great girlfriend named Kelly. This pictures was taken on New Years Eve way back in 1995. My girlfriend and I were about to leave for New York to see Patrick Stewart’s last performance of ‘The Tempest’. 


The next year I made my girlfriend, my wife and a few years after that I turned her into someone’s mom (I’ve since apologized). A lot happens when you’re married, more then anyone could ever tell you. Even more happens when you become parents, home ownership adds a bit more, in fact with every step you take through life, you gain more responsibility and you seem to have to pay for that responsibility with your time.  Kelly and I celebrated our tenth anniversary a few weeks before Arden’s diagnosis. A number of weeks later our endo informed us that the national average for divorce is 1 in 2 but when you have a chronically ill child, the number goes to 2 in 3. What a gift giver our endo is, huh? 


Anyway, a lot of our time together is taken up with kid stuff. Baseball, softball, homework, housework, paying the bills, worrying about paying the bills, the list goes on and on. 


I’m writing about my girlfriend today because the other morning I was having a conversation with a friend, a good conversation and when it ended my first thought was, “I wish I would have had that conversation with Kelly”... But Kelly and I don’t seem to talk like that much anymore. We more talk about, diabetes and mortgages, who wanted the dog (that only happens when the dog is annoying), stuff like that. Then we get tired, watch TV and go to bed.


So you know what I did yesterday? I called Kelly at work and asked her to look away from her screen, “please don’t read an email while we are talking”, I said. Then I told her what I just told all of you, that I had a great conversation with a friend that I felt like I was having with the wrong person. I joked that I should have stayed best friends with her and married someone that I didn’t like as much. You know, so she and I could talk more about just stuff and not so much about our property taxes and what floor wax would work best in the hall.


I’m always bitching that we should be transparent about type I, so here’s some transparency. The best marriages are already tested by life’s “stuff” and then diabetes comes along and turns up the intensity. You don’t raise your voice at your two year old when their blood sugar is 54, it’s 3:30 am and you’re exhausted. Bad enough you’re trapped in your own personal ’24’ moment, the bomb is ticking... you test, 89... five minutes later, 71, then 64 - guess what? It’s not easy to get a two year old to chow down at 3:30 in the morning, freshly ripped from a crib, with a BGnow of 54 but be damned there you are trying to get it to happen. That moment is intense and frightening, it’s horrible and it makes you want to go find your mom and dad, except you are mom and dad. Then in that moment, when you can’t decide do I cut the red wire or the green one (and before you can snip it you have to talk the wire cutter into drinking apple juice) you get frustrated and you yell at each other. Then the words of your endo flash into your mind, “the divorce rate goes to 2 in 3...” and you think, “f**k”, I’d give anything for to be on the train to NY in 1995 right now, laughing and kissing and not worried about anything. How much would I love to wander the streets of NY again at midnight on New Years Eve, holding hands and taking in the world? A lot. I’d love it a lot.


Since that ain’t happening anytime soon... Here is what I have for you. Take a moment tonight to tell that person on the other side of the couch something sweet, reminisce about a great moment from your past. Then get your kid’s BG as steady as you can, stuff them in bed and have sex before you remember how scared you are and how much all of this bites. 


What? I’m not a psychologist and I don’t have any new age wisdom. 


Three F’s... Make Friends, Forget and Have sex. I say we all make it a thing!



The following are archived comments from this post. You can post new comments below.

Outstanding post! Thanks for the laughs, and sage advice!
Friday, February 4, 2011 - 07:15 PM
Love Love Love this post! Dh and I do this well all the time lol. When asleep or kids in school. We know Js ok and we take that moment to exhale and...enjoy being alexis and terrence. Husband and wife.

Sounds like you guys got it going on too!
Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 12:35 AM
Take care of you, your couple relationship, your child, and diabetes in this order. If you don't take care of you first how can you take care of your relationship and so on. Great Blog but its more then the three F's, Your Endo isn't a therapist and to deal with moment's like that without fighting and working as a team is one key to a happy marriage. 

Food for thought. If your upset your child will feel your energy and follow right along with your mood. Take some deep breaths and drink a glass of water. After centering yourself then go back in with warmth in your heart and a smile on your face. Last piece try their favorite food or drink. Won't take apple juice how about trying candy or chocolate, an Oreo cookie. I know that Juice is fastest but if you spend 30 minutes trying to get the kid to drink juice, whats the difference. Try balancing what the Endo said and common parenting sense. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 07:52 PM

I really appreciate that you took the time to read the post and to write such a thoughtful reply! I want you to know that this post is a conglomeration of many moments and in no way is it indicative of an average day. If you ever make it back here please try re-reading it as a writing of comedy (though a bit dark). You took the whole thing a bit literally when it was meant much more tongue-in-cheek. All the best,
Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 09:55 AM


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