My wife is my hero. I always knew she would be a good mom but I had no idea just how great she’d be until I watched her for twenty years.
During our engagement she made it clear she would not work outside the home if we ever were blessed with children. I really didn’t think that was realistic in an era where it seemed pretty necessary to have two incomes just to pay the bills. How would we afford the added costs of parenthood on my modest salary alone? I knew she’d see the error of her thinking in good time.
A few years later when we were expecting our first child she reiterated.
“Now, remember what I said – I won’t be working when it gets close to time for the baby to come.”
“But you’re earning more than I am right now. There’s no way we can afford having our income drop by more than half now!”
I’m serious. We’ll just have to find a way.”
Adamant, she was. Quit her job, she did. And as I predicted it was tough financially for a good while. We’d had the foresight to sock away a little savings in advance, but each month the balance continued to drop. We were practically down to zero when I was offered a better-paying job that made it possible for her to remain at home.
Worth the sacrifice
But I realized it was worth the sacrifice. Our firstborn had her mom with her all day, having the benefit of nurturing that can only come from mom. There were play dates, excursions, no day care costs (or germs) and all the payoffs a stay at home mom brings. (I recognize not everybody has the luxury of staying at home with their kids, but if you can, it’s the best option.)
When our daughter was still a preschooler we got the news that a son was on the way. There were a couple of prenatal scares and then the little fellow had to be resuscitated at birth. But even that seemed insignificant when we received the diagnosis of autism when he was three years old.
We allowed ourselves a brief grieving period and then my wife made it her purpose to learn everything she could about autism. She researched, interviewed doctors, joined support groups, and steadily became the family autism authority. She found out what services were available for kids on the autism spectrum and made sure our son got the early intervention he needed.
As all parents of special needs children learn, she knew that if we don’t advocate – and yes, sometimes fight – for our kids, who will?
But it didn’t stop there.
This passion ultimately drew her to a teaching career. First as a substitute teacher at a neighborhood school. Then a full-time position as an exceptional children (special needs) resource teacher at a local elementary school. From there she moved to a nearby school district as a homebound teacher, taking lessons to kids who weren’t able to attend classes due to illness, injury, surgery, disability, or even jail time.
Most recently she went back into the classroom as a high school Occupational Course of Study teacher. This, as opposed to the Standard Course of Study, prepares students with intellectual disabilities to graduate high school with a diploma.
I think she’s the greatest gift our children could have, and her students are pretty blessed too.
Happy Mother’s Day, Robin!