Mr. A and I recently began marriage counseling and this is a very good thing. The divorce rate in the United States hovers at around 50%, which is quite staggering. For parents raising a child with special needs, that number jumps to 80%. Mr. A and I are determined not to be included in that number. We've been together for 22 years and married nearly 14, a number some may consider a record.
The therapist's office is soothing. The decor is calm and neutral. The furniture, worn but by no means shabby, is comfortable. One entire wall is filled with books and there are a variety of plants. Pieces of art of Spanish influence dot the room. Table lamps soften the light. I have no doubt careful consideration was given when planning the design of the office. I am comfortable here.
I have taken in these details because this is where my eyes go when direct eye contact becomes too difficult for me. When looking into my eyes makes me feel naked and vulnerable. It is then that I focus on the titles in the book shelf, or look at the way a plant's leaves lay themselves over the entire length of that book shelf.
The questions casually asked of me yesterday made me uncomfortable. Emotional chords inside me that I would rather were left alone were struck. Emotion raw and real was bubbling too close to my surface and I chose my words carefully, deliberately. When I could hear the shakiness in my voice, I would pause and turn away and take a deep breath before I continued.
I stayed composed and I did not break. I did not crack. I held it together.
I am sure he saw me in a different light. I am sure that he saw my white-knuckled grip on control and assessed that I needed to let go. I have no doubt that he viewed my unwillingness to crack as a weakness and not a strength.
He asked me what I felt I needed most in my life. The answer was simple: Ordinary.
All I want is to be able to enjoy dinner together as a family, take a day trip, go to the grocery store or the library, go on a date, go to church, take a vacation ...all without having to move heaven and earth to do it. I want to do the mundane, everyday things without so much planning and process. I don't want to feel like everything is so hard. I want to feel free to exhale.
I think that everyone who has sat on his couch has been asked this question. I wonder if we all answer in similar fashion. Is the answer that we all want what we think other people have?