My Name is Sarah

MY NAME IS SARAH. I am a quilt designer and the sewcial director of Sarah's Sewcial Lounge. I also have a business called Down Right Charming. I sell my quilts mostly on etsy and I make pillowcases to donate to patients in the hospital in memory of my friend Kristen Kirton. I am a young adult living with Down syndrome. I hope you enjoy reading about my life journey.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I cannot think of another seven letter word in the English language that conjures up more emotion, than the word...d..i..v..o..r..c..e.

Ten years ago, we headed to our favorite local photo studio. Each August, our anniversary present is a photo setting. We take a group shot of the kids, single photos if there is a significant event such as Sarah's 10th birthday and a pose of just the two of us. In 1999, the photographer suggested that we sit on the floor with our backs touching. I jokingly said, "Oh, you mean the divorce pose." I'd seen it used in magazines many times. He looked at me with quizzical eyes, so I elaborated by using my finger to make a jagged line in the air as though I was cutting the photo in two. He laughed.

But in reality, divorce is no laughing matter. Over the years the statistics have hovered around giving a couple a 50/50 chance of making it past the first few years. Add a child with a disability to the mix and that number escalates upwards of 65%. John and I recently celebrated 23 years of marriage. By now, one could assume we have it figured out. And on most days we probably do. Yet every now and then something hits us like a tsunami wave blast. The most recent, just yesterday.

A relative was not happy about a certain blogpost I had written. So she called John at his office and started a mild tantrum. When that didn't work she threw in a few tears, some greater drama, followed by, "call her(Joyce) and tell her to take the post down...if she loves you... she will do it." John's reply, "And if she doesn't, what am I suppose to do, divorce her." John wasn't budging.

So she next called me and followed the same pattern (I didn't know at this time she had already called John). I wasn't wavering at the threats or the tears or the escalating loudness of the voice. I was starting to question her mental stability, even feel sorry for her, but then she hit me with her fourth manipulative tactic, "If you love (John) you will take this post down." I was stunned. Whoa, now she was treading on sacred ground... my marriage.

After I hung up with that call, I dialed John at the office to tell him what had just happened. He told me he had already talked with the same person. This made me angry. He then went on to relay what had been said. When he got to the word divorce, I said, "Exactly, yes, that is exactly what I want. A divorce. I am so sick of this drama. I want out. O-U-T. out.

With that, I hung up the phone. I sat back in the chair and stared out the window for the better part of an hour. I was temporarily paralyzed as I tried to mentally process what had just occured. Then I took the blogpost down along with several others. For a few brief moments, I thought about going upstairs, packing a suitcase, jumping in my car and taking off, just me and Sarah.

And then I did what I always do when times get rough, I went over and stared at the picture of our family. OUR Family of FIVE...

Although we have had many pictures taken since, I keep this one framed on our fireplace mantle. 1999 was the year Sarah turned 10. It was the year we celebrated ONE DECADE of LIFE. It was also the year the medical professionals thought we were losing her...twice. It was the year that she missed nearly 100 days of school, spending many of them in the hospital. It was one of the years that could have destroyed a marriage, yet instead we WORKED to make it stronger. How? With honest, truthful, and tender communication.
As I stood there looking at the photo of my precious family, I started to question. "How could I have allowed that one call to throw me so off balance that I am willing to throw in the towel?" I pondered for a moment and then went upstairs to take a shower...


ABandCsMom said...

Wow! You actually had to remove a post on "your blog"? Unbelievable the way some people behave. Not so sure I would have removed it though. I'm sure I would have told this person to "click on the little red X in the top right corner if he/she didn't like my post".

Sorry you had to deal with that.

Karyn said...

Thank you for your honesty. That is the key - honesty and working through things. Plus being willing to really see the difficulties and not just pretend that things are picture perfect. That is probably what the person who wanted the stuff off the blog didn't like - that things weren't picture perfect or depicted in the perfect way. But isn't that what Down syndrome is about? Isn't that what we learn, that you embrace the imperfection and you love it and through that it becomes perfection?

stephanie said...

Your honesty is beautiful... what led up to it... not so pretty. Sorry you had to deal with something so hurtful especially from a relaitve.Family is not supposed to turn on each other. No family is perfect, and I agree with Joanie, if they didn't like it they could just hit the X. Life is not all "fluff" and you shouldn't have to design your blog around other people.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

WOW! I read your blog every day and can't imagine what upset someone so much to cause a phone call like that! Thank you for this post though, every once in awhile Frank and I will have a tsunami wave blast too... it doesn't happen often, but when it does, I think, "Should this still be happening after almost 11 years?!" Apparently it will still be happening after 23! :)

Too funny about that picture, I've never thought about that as the divorce pose before, but I always will now! haha Thanks again for this post and for letting this family member know he/she is not going to tear your marriage down!

Heather said...

My older girls and I read your posts daily... we racked or brains trying to figure out the offense ones and came up empty handed.I too,probably would have left them but for the sake of peace,you came out on top.Mark and I will next celebrate our 23rd as well and along the way we have been tried and tested and the last 2 years,since Zoey's birth,it has gone to a whole different level but what we found is that we are at our most strongest when challenged to stay together ... we call that yet another gift of Zoey's grace.Thanks for another real post ... that's why we all keep coming back Joyce.

Mel said...

Family. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. I too have some 'challenging' female in-laws (outlaws more like!). Don't let the divide and conquer strategy she used work. She is behaving like a spoilt child, going from mum to dad until she gets her way. What would you do if one of your kids did that??? Give your husband the benefit of the doubt :)

Good luck- it'll all blow over soon.

Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL and so true--simple as that!!

Mandy said...

Oh honey - are you telling me that after worrying about the things my son might not do, that I should be worrying that my MIL will never change! LOL
You can remove this comment after you read it if you want cause heaven forbid someone's feelings get hurt!
Correct me if I am off base here but from PERSONAL experience, in-laws are hard and you could have just told me that it was my MIL that called you and John!
Praying for you and John.

ds.mama said...

Isn't it crazy how after so many years something can come along and throw ya for a loop. But it does. Forget divorcing him... divorce the caller ;-) and post away!

It is hard to balance family sometimes. But you are a wonderful family of five and your honesty is an encouragement to those of us without two decades of marriage under our belts!