A long time ago I read somewhere (probably a fashion magazine and therefore this is absolutely made up psychology) that couples tend to get along better when they face a difficult situation than they do when all is easy and simple. The logic behind it was that when a bad situation arises couples tend to stick together against it, if there is no situation usually they loose perspective and turn against each other.
I am not sure if this is particularly true, in fact I don’t really believe in “general psychology”, it could happen either way to those who have difficult situations and to those lucky ones who never face one. I think the difference is in the individuals that make the couple – in fact I believe that most things in life lie with the individual in question!
I have the example of a very strong relationship – my parents will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next year and theirs is a relationship that has survived many hardships – war, distance, financial troubles, diseases and losses; but it has also enjoyed many happy moments – 4 children, 5 grandchildren, and many happy moments. And this is a fair example that it’s all down to the individuals.
This brings me to my own relationship with Daniel, I don’t take it for granted. I never have and since Amelie has been diagnosed with Tay-Sachs I certainly do not take anything for granted and this has reinforced my appreciation for Daniel.
When choosing a partner one tends to go for a type, for a look and for the common points, sometimes even for their strengths that end up balancing our weaknesses. This was probably what attracted me to him (at first sight was the fact that he smoked and was a rare british man drinking espresso after dinner!) but what is more extraordinary is what I have come to find since our own hardship with our daughter began.
No one looks at their boyfriend and thinks – ‘If we were to have a child that was disabled and/or had a terminal illness how would he react? How would he cope?’ – it’s not something that anyone thinks or even wants to consider, and I didn’t either. But now that we are where we are I know that I chose the right boyfriend to be my husband and mostly the right father for my children.
I always had pretty high standards when it came to fathers. My father has always been absolutely outstanding to me and to my siblings and having come from a family where his own father was pretty much absent I value his love and dedication to us even more. I never did think that I would find someone so devoted and loving towards their children and I thought that perhaps this was something where I would have to lower my expectations and compromise but in fact – and not taking any credit away from my own father – Daniel has been the most loving, dedicated and devoted father that I ever thought possible!
Daniel and Amelie always had a very close relationship, they look alike, they like the same things, they have always been two peas in a pod, I think a lot of my friends who are also mothers secretly think that it must upset me that Amelie has always undoubtedly been a “daddy’s girl” but the truth is that it actually always fils me with love and joy to watch them together. And now it goes deeper than that, Daniel goes to extents that I don’t think many men would, he totally looks after Amelie on his own when I am at work and he does absolutely anything for her, no matter how big or small or how many times a day he has to do it. He gets up really early to make sure she has her feed on time whilst organising his day around the tasks he needs to get done for the charity and manages to fit in a training run to be able to keep on running a marathon every month – all of this comes naturally to him because of his love for Amelie.
And so I seat here and think the other way around – “How would some of my previous boyfriends react to this situation?” – certainly not with the same strength and devotion, some better than others for sure, at least one would have thrown himself from a bridge at this point.
But I cannot forget that both Daniel and I are carriers of Tay-Sachs, a very unlikely and unfortunate coincidence, in fact we would have more chances of winning the lottery than to have met and have a child with Tay-Sachs, given the fact that we are from completely different ethnic backgrounds, countries and that by chance we both moved to London.
Yes – unlikely… the carrier of a rare gene… certainly a rare individual, the kind that is hard to find, the type that no one would think might be essential at some stage in their lives, the most outstanding father I have ever met who certainly surpassed my expectations – so rare in so many ways!
As I was saying – I am sure it’s the individual that makes life happen in a certain way…