I’m Thankful For You: My Husband

(Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Jamie Happel and is part of Cooper’s, ‘I’m Thankful For You’ Campaign.)

This November I would like to honor and thank my husband, Chris Happel. He is an absolutely amazing husband and father.

Chris and I met last year at the hospital we both work at. He is an Emergency Physician and I am a Radiographer and Mammographer. Fast forward a year later and we are now a crazy, fun and loving blended family with six children. Our children are ages 20, 13, 11, 11, 11 and 9. Chris and I had both previously been divorced and pretty much given up on thinking that we were meant to be happy. Little did we know what God had planned for us.

Sloan, my biological son was diagnosed with autism when he was 16 months old. I knew when I was carrying him that something just wasn’t right…he never moved. Then shortly after birth Sloan’s seizure activity began and he never met any developmental milestones which led us to one doctor after the other until he was old enough to put the pieces together for a diagnosis. Years of speech, occupational, physical, feeding, hippo and all other kinds of therapy, countless doctors appointments, several trials of different medications, a VNS placement for his seizures, different special education classes , countless nannies, and one exhausted momma, we are finally on the right road.

When I met Chris I was reluctant to tell him how crazy our life was.  I thought what kind of man would want us, let alone be a full time husband or father to us. Chris stepped up and has been the best thing that has ever happened today us. Sloan is now 11 and pretty much nonverbal except for his language that we as his family understands. For all other communication he uses a Vantage Lite.

I am nominating my husband for more reasons than I can list.

First, he is an amazing husband. He loves me unconditionally and tells me daily that I’m not alone in this anymore. I still struggle with accepting his help when Sloan has a bad day and I’ll catch myself pushing him away because I’m afraid that it will be too much for him. And also because I’m stubborn. I am so used to doing this alone.

Second, I am thankful for the amazing father he is to all of our children, especially my children. Even though he is not their biological father he is their Dad and is the one that is there for them every single day! His love for my kids and especially for Sloan is what made me fall so deeply in love with him. It takes a special man to love and care for children that are not your own but it takes an exceptional man to become a special needs daddy!

His love and connection with Sloan is like nothing I have ever seen. I am so thankful for the bond that has formed between the two of them. Chris is involved with every aspect of Sloan’s life. From the school and doctor appointments to the ugly meltdowns on department store floors. He never gives up on us and always pushes me to get up and keep going…. and for that I am forever grateful.

Third, I am thankful that he is my person, my rock, and the one I lean on when I feel I can’t carry on. When autism gets too hard he continues to remind me just how far we’ve come and pushes me daily to never give up and to keep fighting for Sloan. He’s there by my side at every doctor and therapy appointment, every hard, every meltdown, and anything and everything for Sloan. He’s there’s to hold me and pick me back up when the reality of autism feels so heavy.

Thank you Chris. I am so proud of that you are my husband and an amazing father to our children.

You can still nominate the doctors, therapists, teachers, friends and family that make a difference in your special needs world. Click HERE to learn how!

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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