A life partner or soulmate is a person who accepts you for exactly who you are without the desire to change or fix you.  There is a deep and unspoken respect between both partners.  Your strengths compliment theirs and you hold each other tightly during challenging times.

The healthiest relationships are rooted in open and frequent communication.

Following my first marriage, it took time for me to feel comfortable in my own skin and redefine what truly makes me happy.  Although I burdened myself with the assumption that I’d be a single mother for the remainder of my life, I recognized that before I could ever be emotionally available to someone else, I must prioritize loving and believing in myself.

That important process took several years.

Without that period of growth and self-reflection, I don’t think my heart would’ve been open and accepting of the divine intervention which ultimately paired me with my true soulmate.

My husband, Josh entered our lives, perfectly choreographed according to God’s plan, when my children and I needed him most.  Only later would I learn, he had also prayed for us.

Josh is hilarious, confident but not cocky, more sarcastic than me (which I didn’t think was even possible), handsome, athletic, exactly one day older than me and brought with him no proverbial baggage to add to mine…clearly, we were a match made in heaven.

Aside from all of the other amazing qualities he possesses, I fell completely in love with Josh while watching him interact with my kids – particularly my autistic son, Skyler.

Never has he wavered where Skyler’s needs are concerned.  From day one, he dove into the roles of advocate, caregiver and bonus father, before officially adopting Skyler in 2019.

There are countless admirable qualities Josh possesses – as a husband, father and friend.  He’s demonstrated for me how to not sweat the small stuff and stands by my side as we calmly navigate the heavy uncertainties of autism.

He truly is a blessing and was the missing piece needed to complete our family puzzle.  He’s enriched all of our lives in numerous ways and I’d be lost without him and his infinite amounts of support.

I cherish Josh for jumping out of bed at 3:00am, without hesitation, as we follow the sounds of clapping to Skyler’s room.  Like a perfectly synchronized but sleep deprived pit crew, we quickly and silently change the soaked bed sheets as a team, without any complaining.

I appreciate Josh for spending much of every weekend taking Skyler on countless walks or car rides to nowhere in particular so I can tackle other household tasks without Skyler’s interference… um, I mean “help.”

I value Josh for always encouraging me to pursue my passions and recognizing the importance of self-care.  We support one another unconditionally and motivate each other to keep learning and growing.

I treasure Josh for assuming the role of bathroom attendant to Skyler when in public, saving me from the concerned stares and comments should I bring a teenage man – who ‘doesn’t look disabled’ into a women’s restroom.

I enjoy the deep belly laugh that only Josh is able to generate from Skyler.  Whether it’s wrestling with him or making up a silly song about food, I adore watching their interactions.

I highly respect Josh’s incredible quick wit and his appreciation for his wife’s comedic timing and banter, which is pretty damn exceptional too.

I admire Josh for always making our daughter, Kendall feel important and special.  Their secret handshake and inside jokes, none of which I’m privy to, creates a loving bond that he shares exclusively with Kendall.

Throughout the years, I’ve learned to let go of my control and demonstrate more appreciation for Josh’s important contributions to our family.  Being married to a strong and supportive partner means that I have had to redefine my former role as Skyler’s “exclusive” caregiver and sometimes step aside when Josh wants to provide assistance or take over some of the required daily tasks.

Rather than resist the help and later complain that I’m feeling depleted or resentful, sharing the responsibilities and giving credit for Josh’s effort has definitely made us more of a unified team.

It takes excessive amounts of energy to care for our children, ourselves and a healthy marriage when our patience is routinely tested by autism.  We’ve learned the hard way that even when it may be difficult, open and honest communication and championing one another is a must.

I recognize how blessed I am to have found a loving partner willing to take on the challenges that come with raising an autistic son.

No marriage is perfect or likely easy, but I’ve definitely found the yin to my yang, my ride or die and the equally sleep deprived person I want making me laugh for the rest of my life!

*As Featured on Finding Coopers Voice 3/26/21