In chapter 7, it was revealed the toll that Schuyler’s developmental delays took on the family as well as the secrets that were being kept from each other.   We learned that Robert and Julie both had affairs that took place at this desperate time.  We learned that Robert suffered from depression and Julie suffered from despair over her child’s inability to communicate; both feeling like failures as a parent. As Schuyler was missing developmental milestones, their marriage started to suffer and they began to pull away from each other.  Robert discussed his despair and contemplated jumping off a bridge thinking that perhaps Schuyler would be better off without him.  Julie moved out but left Schuyler with Robert, giving him a reason to live.  In the end, Julie returned home after a week and a day and they slowly reconnected and began rebuilding their lives.

–Karen Reynolds, SLP at Hartstern Elemantary



  1. Kim raho says:

    It seemed to me that the problems in their marriage and the affairs were sort of brushed over. Maybe because they were bot guilty, therefore it was easier to forgive the other partner. It just seemed to me that the forgiveness happened so easily and then things went on as usual. Maybe it was because both of them were more concerned with their daughter. It just seemed like it was easily swept under the rug. You could write a whole book about a cheating spouse. The feelings, resentment, trust issues, etc seemed to be mild for what I think I would feel.

  2. Rachel says:

    I found this chapter very hard to read. I know all about the statistics about divorces being higher when the couples have a child with special needs, but I guess I never thought about what might happen prior to that seperation. I found it incredibly poignant when he said “There were only unanswered questions and frustrations, and when we looked at each other, I guess what we saw was someone who didn’t feel one bit of sympathy for the other. ‘I’m in the same boat….Don’t look to me for any answers.”

    Having very close friends who have gone through the heartache of finding out that their spouse has had an affair, I know the long lasting impressions that it causes and the greater toll it takes on the marriage. I agree with Kim that it seemed to be swept away and forgiven easily. Perhaps the author didn’t want us to know how the affairs truely affected them, or perhaps the “tit for tat” mentality came into play. Either way, I did not enjoy reading about it.

    I also found it disturbing that he used the word “retarded” to describe his heart. On page 97 (in my book), he is describing Madeline’s betrayal, and he states, “But the world is messy and chaotic, and the heart is retarded.” Perhaps I interpretted it incorrectly, but that just rubbed me the wrong way.

  3. Carrie says:

    I agree it was a hard chapter to read. Stress is such a beast… makes people do things that are out of character. The lines that Rachel quoted are the ones that were so telling for me too. Sounds like they were both looking for an escape and some comfort. It must be hard for his wife to know that he was in love with his lover. Ouch!

  4. Marie Fisher says:

    I agree with Rachel in that this chapter was very depressing and hard to read. However, I do appreciate the author’s honesty. I’m sure that would be strange knowing your friends and family may read the details of your affair…It was odd to me that they just both seemed to call it even with their infidelities.

    This chapter also reminded me of a course that I took in college. The course was about the family dynamics of children with special needs. Marriages were a big topic of discussion during this course and it was very sad to me the high % of marriages ( I forget exactly) that end in divorce when a child with special needs is brought into the family.

  5. allison forrester says:

    This chapter allowed me to understand how parents may feel as though they have failed in some way when they have a developmentally delayed child. Robert feels like a failure. As a mother of three children, I could really understand how you would feel as though you were at fault in some way. The stress of not knowing and wanting an answer clearly put serious stress on their marriage, but they did seem to move past the affairs rather quickly.

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