I often wonder how people view Andrew in this journey of ours. I know I am the one who talks and writes. This is mainly for an escape and a therapeutic release….
I tend to be the one who makes the appointments and being medical I’m the one who writes the questions and asks them, and debates with physicians and advocates for comfort measures in ways Andrew just appreciates but doesn’t fully understand.
I often times wish I could paint the picture of what a dad with special needs kids – goes through.
I can’t really fully imagine. I can’t imagine what it is like for Andrew to have a son who may not be totally independent. Or who may not be an athlete or may get picked on as he gets older. I would assume it’s a different feeling as a dad.
What I can tell you….is I watch his face. I see his eyes get slightly pink as he tries to hold himself together every time we get a new diagnosis or every time he watches his kid have a meltdown. Or every time we get scheduled for another appointment.
I see the complete exhaustion in his body as he wakes up to the alarms in the middle of the night to handle Ben’s needs. Every. Single. Night. Without fail, because physically, he can handle Ben better than I can.
I see him cringe and slowly rise without saying a word after his child who he loves without limits physically hurts him. You wouldn’t think such a small fist could take you to your knees, but I promise those little hands have brought us to tears more times than I can count.
I see a face full of defeat as I sit on the couch crying at night, after all the kids finally go to bed. As he squats down to ask me if I’m okay, and I respond “no” – I see his face when he realizes there is no way he can take away my pain.
I see his isolation – just like my own. His constant need to be home to help “handle” the kids because the task in and of itself is too much for one parent 99% of the time.
He is my rock. He is my families rock. While I work, while I travel for work, while I juggle kids and appointments, sports, therapies – while I have meltdowns and mood swings and moments that I literally do not know how I will carry on – he picks me up and carries me. Along with our kids.
Special needs dads – they often are quiet but, oh, so Strong. But, I see through it. I see the parts nobody else sees. I see the unwavering love for our family. For All of us.
And, my goodness – I am so thankful for it. So thankful for his strength that picks up immediately when mine drops off.
Thank you special needs dads. For your (sometimes silent) dependability to be present in the moments most people don’t understand and couldn’t handle.
Thank you Andrew, for your shoulders – your strong shoulders that carry the weight of the world on them. We love you.