They are both Harvard-educated and in their late 30s – he a cardiologist, she a pediatrician. They have three children, a boy and two girls, with a fourth on the way. They have a spacious home in Sacramento’s Pocket neighborhood.
Such a charmed life. Such blessings to count. Such a model family.
What you wouldn’t know until you cross the threshold at Howard and Tracey Dinh’s home is the stress that colors their existence like dreary wallpaper, the challenge of making it through each day with at least one nerve left unfrayed, the anxiety that takes hold whenever they try to exhale.
The Dinhs are the parents of an autistic child, Austin, 7. They love him dearly, care for him constantly and see cognitive improvement almost daily.
But they know Austin won’t live a life like Allie, 4, and Anna, 2. Which means their family life – not to mention their careers – never will be quite what they pictured as a couple starting out. Which is fine. They came to terms with that long ago.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t stress. There’s plenty of it. “It’s one of those things that’s all-consuming,” Tracey says.