I am fairly certain when Julian proposed to me he probably thought we’d have a couple of kids. The thing that makes that an interesting statement is that we’d never discussed it. We’re one of those rare couples that never talked about marriage. We never talked about the future although we did love each other greatly.
Julian wasn’t what you’d call the “marrying kind.” He was skeptical of marriage and so, while I knew he loved me, I wasn’t sure we’d end up together married. I had an internal deadline in my head as to how long I’d wait for a proposal. I didn’t have to wait that long after I set that internal deadline. It was just a week later when he completely surprised me with an offer of a lifetime of love. He said he was committing to doing whatever it took to make a life together work.
The next day (I’m serious) we talked about the important topics engaged couples should know including if we were having kids and how we’d raise them. This next part is up for debate (Jman does not remember it), but Julian said I could keep my maiden name, hyphenate it, whatever I wanted. Then he added that he hoped I would take his last name because he was, you know, traditional and it would be an outward symbol of my acceptance of his proposal. Approximately 10 seconds later I decided I would indeed accept his proposal and become Julia Roberts. Yeah, I’d heard about that actress Julia Roberts. But “How famous could she get?” I thought.
I am nothing if not brilliant in my physic abilities.
Anyway, yes, we talked about kids and wanted a couple. We talked about fertility (how forward thinking we were) and decided we both didn’t feel the need to go through any kind of fertility treatments to have biological children but we were committed to having children.
Fast forward 5 years and Gage made us a family of things. Three years later, Quinnlin joined us and our lives became complicated more than just the 2nd child complications and adjustments.
When Gage was 1 he was diagnosed with the vision disorder and when Quinnlin was born we added ARPKD (autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease) to vision disorder (OMA) he mix for both. His diagnosis brought us over 13 therapy appointments a week and multiple doctor visits for monitoring and stabilization.
Not only has Julian been an amazing husband, he’s been amazing father. He’s become a different father than his father, even though everything in his DNA and memory told him to be one way. He flipped that around and became his kids’ father.
When he learned his son wasn’t the sports kind of kid, he encouraged different activities. He’s camped, scouted, rock climbed, and learned the basics of piano to support his son. He heartbreakingly restrained Gage to keep him from hurting himself and he wept as we signed releases so Gage could get the help he needed. Julian is Gage’s biggest fan for anything he thinks he might ever, maybe want to do or anything he does.
When Quinnlin was a few days old he held her and cried and he looked at me, heartbroken for the pain he knew she’d endure. He’s learned how to be the kind of dad a girl needs. It’s one who comforts and hugs and kisses. It’s a dad who snuggles and compliments. It’s a dad who goes to Girls Scout camps and is the loudest voice on the sidelines for the swimmer his girl has become. It’s Julian.
He loves his kids perfectly. He’s changed his thoughts on strong-arm parenting. He worries and plans for the kids’ future liver transplants and repeat kidney transplants. He thinks about them at age 25 and 30 and how we might support them should they still need it. He continuously believes in the kids’ chances for success at whatever they want to do, regardless of how many times the world may say no. He’s given up retirement dreams in lieu of what support the kids need. He doesn’t want recognition for it he just wants the kids to be happy and contribute to a society that will let them.
Julian would be the first person to tell you it’s not in his nature to talk and discuss and debate personal things but in this family we can’t exist unless we specifically talk and discuss and debate it all even though it doesn’t come naturally. Julian does it though. Because our family needs it.
He’s a pretty serious person until he’s sarcastic or something is funny. He’s maybe not that serious if I need the distraction. He’s a stand up guy when things are horrible (of that I know). Like he’ll be funny on day 3 after transplants or day 24 after the Really Bad News that always seems to come. He does it because after all, we have to laugh. He also mostly fills the med dispensers for the kids with 20+ meds, making sure they have life-sustaining and mental sustaining drugs ready.
He’s a father to marvel at, really.
He’s adjusted the kind of father he was destined to become to the father his kids needed him to be.
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