The Motto From “The Simpsons” We Adopted While Parenting a Medically Complex Child
Many of my friends have crushes on Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and other good looking celebrities. My crush, however, is on Homer Simpson. I have had this crush since season 6, episode 13: “And Maggie Makes Three”:
Homer shows the world what it means to be a great dad. I was not married, nor was I a parent at this time, but I knew one day I wanted someone as selfless as Homer to be my partner in raising our family.
Years passed, and I found the man I wanted to share my life with, Tim. He is amazing and so much more than just my best friend. We welcomed our little girl Casey into the world in 2006. There were a lot of complications during birth, and she and I were both lucky to have survived, but the trauma impacted every aspect of our Casey’s life. She had a lot of medical challenges.
On the night she was born, we were told she would not survive. This was the first of many times she proved doctors wrong. Tim and I both vowed that very first night, from that point forward, everything we do is for her. Just like Homer, we adopted the “Do it for her” motto.
An amazing thing happened. While we were focused on trying to help our daughter, she helped us. She taught us so much every day. Our priorities changed; we learned to celebrate every triumph and roll with every hurdle. She taught us what real love is. Casey passed away this March, but her love still fills our home. All of the lessons she taught us have helped her dad and I to use her stories as inspiration and motivation for other children like her.
There were times over the years when all we wanted to do was lock the doors and stay in bed all day. Hearing medical professionals tell you repeatedly how bad your situation is, when all you needed was a flu shot, takes a toll on a person. Tim always said he wanted to put a huge bubble around the house and keep Casey safe and hidden away from anything that could hurt her. Of course that’s great in theory, but Casey was a very social little girl and loved to be with friends, so we ventured out of the bubble as often as she was able.
As a parent to a medically complex child, one of the hardest things is balance. We want to help our child experience as much joy and life as possible, but at the same time, we know doing certain things will have medical/physical set backs. There are so many special memories we have with Casey. Some of the adventures we went on were things we knew she would love, and we would spend weeks (or more) setting everything up, modifying the experience and eliminating as much risk to Casey as possible. Often, we would have these amazing days, and then pay the price. A full day of fun sometimes included a full week of recovery. Trying to decide what adventures would bring her the most joy, and which ones were worth the risk of setbacks, was always so hard. We had to weigh the pros and cons for every situation and every opportunity we faced. Every choice we made, we made for her, though.
The first time I watched episode 13 from season 6, I fell in love with Homer. I watch this episode often, and each time I find myself a bit emotional. I don’t see Homer anymore; I see my daughter’s amazing father. I see the love he has for her, and I can’t help but shed a few tears. I see him broken now, missing his daughter, but still doing everything in his power to make her proud. “Do it for her” will continue to be our motto for the rest of time.
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