Seeing the person you love most struggle and be in pain every single day isn’t the easiest.
Amanda Krieg gives us a glimpse into her journey as both a para wife and toddler mother. In 2014, her husband Todd sustained a spinal cord injury as a professional dirt bike racer. The two met while Todd was at a recovery center in California and Amanda was a therapist. They defied the 1% odds of getting pregnant with their now two-year-old Rhett and they are living in northern Ohio.
I am an impatient, selfish and empathetic person. In this role, I am forced to be the opposite. Would our relationship be easier if Todd wasn’t paralyzed? Absolutely. As you can imagine, the frustration and mental effect of being paralyzed can take a toll on a relationship.
I didn’t know Todd before his accident, so I don’t mourn a past life we never had together, but I do wonder how different we’d be and yearn for the day I’m able to be with Todd who is pain and chair free.
I do not consider myself a caretaker as Todd does all his own self-care tasks but I do certain things around the house because they are simpler for me to do. I lift the heavy objects and reach things that are high up. He can cook (actually made steak fajitas last night), change the sheets, cleans the bathroom (actually scrubbed it better than I did the other day), and does laundry; it’s just with a spinal cord injury, everything takes longer and more effort. When Rhett was younger, Todd would pick up the pre-ordered groceries when I couldn’t function.
I do hold Todd to a high standard and expect him to help out around the house equally and can get frustrated with him when he lacks in contribution. We both work full time and have the use of our hands/arms. One thing Todd hasn’t been able to do yet is to take Rhett out of the house somewhere in the car and be out for a while (like go to lunch or the park and give me a break to sit). But I know this day is coming so soon and I can’t wait.
Todd is there physically, mentally and emotionally as a spouse and father. I always remind myself to be thankful that he is present. Although not able to help with every stereotypical role - he is with us every day. Throwing a ball and riding a bike are far smaller matters compared to raising our son with love and kindness.
In the Spinal Cord Injury realm, I feel my plate is small compared to other moms/wives whose husbands are in a chair but if you have a man that walks, stand up and hug him hard.