parallel universe

Last night we celebrated our two year anniversary. It’s been that long since Michael and I first met the young couple at an ice cream shack in the next town over. I’d seen their son, Jacob, as I passed by their car with my fist wrapped around a melting cone. His eyes met mine and at that moment I knew that he was an extraordinary boy, a boy not unlike Calvin.

I was hesitant to approach the family, didn’t want to intrude, wasn’t sure they’d appreciate my gumption. But Michael encouraged me, and I’m glad he did. They met us with open arms from the moment I mentioned how I thought our son Calvin might have a lot in common with their boy Jacob.

Since that first encounter, we’ve shared stories and holidays and jokes and meals and tears and frustrations and worries and fears and hopes and dreams. And unlike many parents of disabled children—yet like us—Jacob is their only child. And so we find our universes parallel to a degree that—while not exact—eclipses levels of understanding we might share with others. I can only describe it as a kind of visceral empathy. In short, they get us, and they get our situation. We could perhaps finish each other's sentences, read each other's minds, know each other's fears, anticipate each other's reactions.

Once, I was brought to tears when Luke responded to a blog I posted called, enough. He wrote, I feel you sister.

Perhaps, though, as much as having similar experiences with our children who cannot talk or walk well, who may not develop beyond the minds of toddlers, is that we share so much in common with Luke and Sarah outside of our boys. We see the world in vastly similar ways. We love to eat the same kinds of foods, drink the same kinds of drinks. We think progressively, creatively. We share a common work ethic, which is to regularly bust our asses in whatever we do. We delight in the same goofy sense of humor and respectfully allow ourselves—and each other—to wallow in our darkest emotions. We love each other. We are there for each other. We are brothers and sisters in this crazy, upside-down, beautiful parallel universe.