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(Or Jess, Jae, Jae Rae, Jessi, Red - I’ve had many nicknames!)
Cedar Park, United States
Hi!!! My name is Jessica, and I’m a wife and stay at home mother of 2 boys! I love to write, but haven’t found a platform that I love to use yet, so I look forward to trying out Biopage and to getting to know all of you better!!!
Intro: I've heard it said that the best writing comes from what you know and love most. So what is that for me? My husband and sons are undoubtedly the most important parts of my life. And they are so essential and meaningful in different ways, that I believe each deserve an entry dedicated just to them. So to start: My Life: Part 1 - Chris “Just pull over,” I said to him, tears collecting in my eyes. Chris stopped the car, and I prepared myself for what would be a heart-wrenching conversation. “I have to ask,” I said, trying to arrange my thoughts to best convey my overwhelming feelings. It was the most difficult thing I had ever had to say aloud, but it was time. “Can you handle this?” The question we had been skirting the previous 9 months finally flowed from my lips. “This is me. The MS is always going to be a problem. I will forever have bad days. I am going to have more moments like this, where plans get ruined because I am sick.” The events of that morning came flooding back to me: how I started feeling sick and anxious, how terrible sleep caused me to have a bad morning with my MS. How my body, working fine the day before, was so fatigued I could barely walk. How my head was swimming with confusion. I had asked him to take me home early, to choose me over his friends. We had driven for hours to attend an annual weekend trip with his friends from college. And this specific trip was significant to Chris: it was the first time he had brought a girlfriend to meet them. But then I started feeling sick and asked to leave a day early. I could tell he was upset: I would be too in his position. He had been looking forward to spending the entire weekend with them, and I was ruining that. That was the reality of my life though. A bad MS day can hit when it is most inconvenient, and there was no way for me to change that. It was my life, my future - but it didn't have to be his. Even though I loved him, even though I didn't have a choice with my MS, I realized that he did. He didn't have to be burdened, and I wondered if a life without me would be better for him. He could choose not to have a future with a person who was chronically ill. He could choose not to be the caregiver, the person who always had to be the strong one. A life with me would mean a future that was always uncertain. He would be forever having plans disrupted, forever taking care of me, forever seeing me suffer. I knew that he loved me, that he cared very deeply for me. But he did have a choice: if it was too much, he could decide to end this thing we had. This thing I had wished so hard for, a love that I never imagined I would actually get. I hoped our love would be enough to overcome the burden of my MS, but if it were me, if I could choose to get rid of it, I would. So I wouldn't blame him if he left, even if it did break my heart in the process. “I love you, more than anything,” I told him, tears now streaming freely down my face. It was so hard to continue. “But I need to know if the MS is too much. I need to know if it is something you want to live with. And if it's not… it might be best if we end this now. I can't keep falling more in love with you. It'll just hurt too much, more than it does now!” My heart was breaking! A few years later, I asked Chris when he knew I was the one: he said it was this moment. I remember this time with a lot of grief; I was so upset and it was a terrible moment for me. I was terrified that this would be the end of us, and I felt guilty even asking him to choose me and the MS in the first place (I misguidedly felt that if I really loved him, I wouldn't want him to be burdened with me), and I left the conversation not being entirely satisfied with how I was feeling. So I was amazed that this was such a solidifying moment for Chris. He said that this experience, when I asked him if the MS was too much, and suggested it might be best for us to move on, was when he realized he didn't want to live without me. That he loved me so much he'd rather have me, MS included with everything that meant, than not at all. Over a decade later, our relationship is even stronger now, but living with MS is not easy for either of us. When I am sick and cannot take care of myself, the burden falls to him. He has to be husband, provider, father, maid, cook, nurse - he has to do his work, mine, plus more… And he says he wouldn't have it any other way. I find it amazing, awe-inspiring even, that he chose this! We truly have a partnership, where each of us tries to give as much as we receive. But I will be forever grateful that he took that first big step in picking me, and in so doing, choosing the MS. He is everything to me, and I to him. The inscriptions on our wedding bands summarize it all. Mine reads “My Life.” His says “Ditto”! - Part 2 coming soon!
I am a wife, and I am the stay-at-home mother of two young boys. That is a traditionally normal statement. To be a wife and stay-at-home mother is the epitome of a normal life. And while anyone looking at that statement, living a similar situation, can feel how tired I am at the end of each day (because young boys are just exhausting!) I have more to add to my story. And now for my next statement, the one with the extra details: I am a wife (a woman living with multiple sclerosis since the age of 18), and the stay-at-home mother of two young boys (an 8-year-old with autism and ADHD, and a 5-year-old who is gifted, but also determined and defiant). Wow. Did life decide to play a joke on me, first sentencing me with an incurable disease - before I was even given the chance of experiencing a normal adult life - but also adding the difficulties of having a child on the spectrum and another who often displays challenging behaviors? Comparing the two statements, the ones with and without the extra details, on the surface the first statement looks so much better than the second. But here's the thing about life: it's not what you see on the surface that really matters. And here is the most important detail of all: I love my life and am happy each day that I get to be me! Because, while I was diagnosed at an early age with MS, and while I have had very low points of not being able to walk and not being able to see or think correctly, I have also been gifted with the knowledge of how precious each day is! Because, while having had numerous MS attacks, my miraculous body has healed itself after each relapse (not completely, but thankfully enough) and I am blessed with knowing how wonderful it is to be able to just walk, to go out into the sun without having blinding eye pain, or by being able, physically, to do yoga (even if I am terrible at it). I know that each day I am able to do all these activities (the things most people take for granted) is a day that I have been given the gift of relative normalcy, which is indeed a marvelous thing after having MS for 16 years. Because, while my MS does limit my ability to work, I have a loving husband who takes the responsibility of having a career and making the money for our family, so I am blessed to be a stay-at-home parent. Because of my husband's hard work, I can focus on our children and take care of myself, not adding the complications of working a job to my already stress-ridden, chronically ill body. Although it is not always easy dealing with our kids and their schedules, and being mostly responsible for our house, it is what I need, so when I do have a bad day I am able to dedicate time to my health and trying to get better! Because, while it is not easy having a son with autism and ADHD, while it is a struggle sometimes to get through a day without him having a meltdown and without us stressing over his education and future, I have been gifted a son with the most amazing of imaginations and an astonishing view of the world. My son is awe-inspiring, and I wouldn't trade him, just as he is, for anything in the universe. Because, while having a strong-willed 5-year-old son is hard each time his temper overtakes him, he is also very smart and really determined to be great in all he does. He is amazing, and just like his big brother, I would never wish him to be any different. When it comes down to what's under the surface, to the heart and core of my life, I love it, just as it is. I truly appreciate all that I have, both the troubles and the joys, because they have made me who I am and have given me this amazing family I am proud to call my own. So this is me: I am a wife, with MS, who is the mother of two young sons, one with autism and another with challenging behaviors. We are a household of disabilities (did I mention we also have a three-legged cat?), and while our life might be different from others, it is no less. We laugh, we cry, and we love just like any other family. So instead of focusing on the challenging details - MS, autism, ADHD, meltdowns - I will focus on the details that truly matter - Chris, Kalen, Riley. My family! My loves! My life!