On Wednesday TheODDDad and I will celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. In this day and age, that's an impressive feat in itself. According to the statistics, about 40% of Canadian marriages end in divorce. That's a heck of a lot.
But here's another fun little statistic. Studies have shown that couples who have a child with ADHD are TWICE as likely to get divorced before the child turns 8 than couples who don't have a child with ADHD. Apparently divorce rates go back down to normal once the child is over 8. (Yippee...back down to only a 40% chance of divorcing!) Now, the nice people who did the study were quick to point out that having a child with ADHD doesn't cause you to get divorced, but rather it adds to the problems that already exist in a marriage.
This doesn't come as a surprise to TheODDDad or me since we've known that little stat since...oh...the day Bear was first diagnosed. The clinical psychologist who informed us that Bear had ADHD and "ODD at a level rarely seen in a child his age" also warned us that the divorce rate for parents like us is much higher than normal. The school principal, who had been sitting fairly quietly through the meeting, jumped in at this point to encourage us to see a marriage counsellor if we were having problems. Ugh! Kick us while we're down, why don't you!
Thankfully, our marriage is perfect.
OK, maybe not perfect, but I have to say I have no worries about us beating the odds. That's not to say that I don't completely understand how having a child with ADHD can strain a marriage. ADHD isn't one of those things that has an easy fix, or even a proven fix, so people have different ideas on how it should be handled. If you have two parents who can't seem to see eye-to-eye on how to approach the situation, things can get tense. TheODDDad and I are fortunate in that we have always agreed on how to handle even the hardest parenting challenges Bear has thrown our way. We also turn to each other, rather than against each other, when things get really rough, and I think that's key to our survival.
But back to our anniversary. Given that it's on a week day, we decided to celebrate early. So, how did we, two wild and crazy parents who are still madly in love celebrate our wedding anniversary? Well, first off, we sent the kids away for the weekend. Uh huh...that's right. Away...for...the...weekend. House...to...ourselves...so...we...could............
Yup. Rather than go out for dinner or something else romantic, we slept. Or rather, I slept. I napped for almost three hours while TheODDDad tackled some outdoor projects he'd been meaning to get to for a while. Then we ordered in for pizza and snuggled-up to watch a movie (an uninterrupted movie, at that!!!), and I barely made it through to the end without falling asleep. Then we went to bed...to sleep. Then we slept in.
There was a lot of sleeping. Glorious, quiet, uninterrupted sleeping. The sleep of a mother who knows she won't have to get up in the middle of the night to tend to a child for the first time in weeks. Or is that months? To say years might be an exaggeration, although not much of one. (Bear has sleeping problems and is often up til about 3 or 4 a.m., but that's a blog for another time.) The sleep of a mother who knows she'll be able to sleep until she wakes up rather than only until her crazy kid comes in to jump on the bed. Sleep. Blessed soul-rejuvenating, dark-circle-erasing sleep. I haven't looked this well-rested in a very, very long time.
So now TheODDDad and I find ourselves at the end of our long-anticipated anniversary weekend, having done nothing we planned, but very happy about it. It helps that I look damn good for all that sleep.
So happy anniversary, Handsome! Thanks for being the man who holds me when I cry, who encourages me when I falter, and who celebrates with me when I succeed. I love you more today than the day we got married, and I can't imagine a better father to our two little crazies.