I know so many other caregivers have had their role reversed just like I have. I know they too struggle everyday with the sudden changes in our identities. Just a few years ago I was a stay at home mom, with a thriving seasonal small business. I volunteered at the girls' school, with Girl Scouts and helped out at their dance studio. Then that all went boom....
In the early days after Chaz's injury I held on very tightly to anything from my previous life. Before I knew it the only thing that remained were the shreds of my business that I salvaged while going back and forth taking care of everyone. What I realized now was by focusing solely on healing my family the details sorted themselves out.
Fast forward to now and I am full-time work from home mom, with a surviving small business. I am a full-time caregiver and Girl Scout leader. We are still homeschooling our kids. And now my husband is the "stay at home parent."
What?! He stays at home? Yes our roles in our family have reversed. And we are beyond ok with it. I wish others could be.
When we were at Walter Reed they shoved college and internships down Chaz's throat. I loved it when I was blamed for him not accepting things, "I was holding him back" don't you know. Finally one day a meeting was called about Chaz turning things down. He was solely focused on his therapies and our family and a few people were not happy about that. He actually flipped and happily let them know that he was the one blown up and everything he had planned for himself for his career was gone. He told them wasn't ready to change his path to what they felt he should do. Again I was blamed for not pushing him.
Our veterans don't always need a push. Sometimes they need someone to listen, understand and love them through it. I have no problems explaining that my husband wanted to serve 20+ in the Infantry. He loved being a soldier. I did not love him being in harms, but I loved him and wanted to support him in his choices. He was out doing what he loved more than anything when that was all taken away from him.Together we mourned our losses and together we have helped him find his independence level and heal our family.
What I will never understand is why we feel we must force our opinions on others? I'll happily give you my opinion, but I will not force it. Chaz and I laughed at all the "advice" we have been given on this journey. Our favorite is the "He stays at home?" comments.
Our little family is beyond happy. I am now "Chaz's Sugar Momma" and I am more than ok with it. I do not like that I have to travel and leave my family and make a ton of arrangements just so they are cared for during my short trips, but that comes with my job. My family is very proud of me and the work I do. They are willing to give me up periodically so I can help so many others. We are ok with that and you should be too. I am not a bad Mom because I choose to work and that work involves travel. Chaz is not any less of a man because he wants to be Mr Mom.
In my opinion, our choices have made us better parents and partners. We are now experiencing how the other one's life was over the past 10 years. We truly understand each other better now because we are seeing the other side.
Our family endured over a decade of war and Chaz being gone all the time. The girls never got a chance to know him. Now they get to have both of their parents and we are having a blast homeschooling them and taking them on adventures through their education.
Chaz and I are working together to plant beautiful seeds of hope, love, faith and family in our girls. What we are doing doesn't have a price tag. What we are doing is setting our girls up for success which will be passed on for generations. If you are worried about my hubby going to school or getting a job please know we are fine and we have it all covered.
One day Chaz will figure out what he wants to do. It may be next week or next month or next year. Or you know what, he may just continue doing what he is doing. And that's perfectly fine with me.