When your first child is born, something changes. The change is not that you suddenly become a parent, I believe the change and becoming a parent happens after that initial birthday, in all the moments that follow. It's taking what is about to come at you, and not only doing your best, but allowing it to change you for the best.
1o years ago I gave my husband Adam a Fathers Day card preceding the birth of our first child, Caleb. We expected a lot f changes when we became parents, a life we knew would be different. I know we were worried about being enough for a new tiny person, being whatever we needed to be to be able to raise a decent human being up in this world.
But, as Caleb got older, and it became evident that something wasn't quite right, the "simple" roles of parenthood we thought we had were really beginning to change. Imagine someone had given you a painting, and told you "this is what parenthood will look like", so you look at it, you study it, you imagine it even when you're not looking at it. Then one day, that person comes back and says, "I actually need that painting back. Parenthood will look different for you, but I'm not quite sure how different, so I'm not painting you a new picture....you'll just have to see how it goes".
When my husband and I first realized our son had autism, there were different reactions. As Moms, I think we tend to blame ourselves for everything regarding our children. Obviously it's because we're perfect and nothing could ever possibly fail while under our watchful eye, and if it does fail it's our fault (really, our need to blame ourselves must stem from us assuming we have the control over everything, right?).
My husbands reaction was two-fold. One was a manly need to fix the problem, but the second reaction was the hardest. He saw that painting, all the things he hoped for, being carried away, with nothing left to look at in it's place. He mourned the things a "regular" father and son could do, that he likely wouldn't be doing with our son. It wasn't an all at once reaction, but one that would come in waves as we watched our son struggle with hurdles other kids were leaping over.
In the years since Caleb was born, and we found out he had autism, things have been good, bad, and ugly. My husband has not been a perfect Dad, not by any stretch, but what he has been is a willing student to our son. And I think that does make an amazing father.
Pam Brown, an Australian artist and poet said, "Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, & singers of songs."
I think having a special needs child makes a Dad feel even more ordinary because things that seem like they are par for the course in raising a child, especially a son, are difficult, or impossible to achieve. The everyday things in raising a child with autism can be so challenging, and a lot of days you're left wondering if any of it matters at all?
But, in the last 10 years what I have seen is my husband loving our son, our sweet, amazing, but often terribly difficult son. I've seen him fight and advocate for him, try to include him, even when it seems like our son has no idea what is going on. He's passed down knowledge to him, perhaps not the knowledge he anticipated handing down, but for our Caleb, it is important. He will sit with him and "research" (Google!) the things that Caleb is interested in so that they are learning it together (turns out a tomato is a vegetable, which Caleb is NOT pleased about!). He will act like a complete goon because Caleb thinks its funny to see a grown man dancing like an idiot (o.k, I think everyone actually finds that amusing).
Adam has worked so hard, has cried many times, fought many times, laughed many times, been angry and confused many times. But at the end of it all, he's still pushing on, believing and hoping the best for our son, and trying to find the best in himself while on the journey.
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
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