seemed to stand still and all my fears and anxiety about being a Dad and provider was wiped away. For my son, I dreamed of one day pitching the ball back in forth at the park, teaching him how to ride a bike and maybe building a fort out of the couch cushions much to Mom’s displeasure. For my daughter I
envisioned the princess, dressing up with pig tails in her hair and having a tea party with her stuffed animals and one day dancing with her at her wedding. These were the little blessings in life that I knew one day would come as they grew up I would have the chance to realize as we grew together as a
Some may say,“well things change” and they would be right. Things do change; our priorities change, we grow through life experiences and we adjust to the hand we’ve been dealt. There are few more
important lessons that I have learned from being a parent of a special needs child than that life is a “roll with the punches” daily event. We adjust our lives and our priorities to better the lives of our children and to allow for the anxieties and challenges our child has are handled in a way that works for
them. It is understandable, for the very reasons I’ve given you, that the things we anticipated being able to do with our kids will and does change. At age 11, Kian is still extremely hesitant to ride his bike, training wheels included. As his Dad, at times it feels as if it has been a failure on my part that he struggles with this. The little things that I was sure we would do together have had to go through a transformation to adjust to his needs and abilities. Instead of building forts, we build a Lego
castle; instead of throwing the ball at the park, we talk about Pokemon.
Today, autism plays a large role in our daily lives. Many people would not call that a blessing, but I certainly do. Kian’s autism has been a teaching tool of gratitude and humility. I look at some of the
families who have come into our lives through our group and see the extreme challenges they have on a daily basis. These are challenges that truthfully, I thank God that we have not had to endure for the sake of our son and our selves. I watch Kian’s ability to teach without even realizing that he is doing so,
teaching is family and others around him about compassion. He teaches us something on a daily basis, even if it is simply the names of every new Pokemon he has unlocked in his game.
Kian’s autism will forever be part of our lives and we will always need to acknowledge that he will be “different, not less” to quote the mother of the great Temple Grandin. I watch many videos of parents talking about their children, many of which I get choked up. I’ve watched a video of a young many,
completely non-verbal give a commencement address; I’m grateful my son can speak. I’ve watched a video where a child cannot be touched; I’m blessed that my son can give me a hug. Every day I
awake, I’m grateful that my child, although forever linked to autism, has opened my eyes to the opportunity to share his story. I am thankful that through him I have met some amazing people, incredible children and parents who are standing up for autism awareness.
I am truly blessed to be able to call Kian my son and for him to call me Dad.