What does it take to be a Special Needs Dad

What does it take to be a Special Needs Dad?

1.)    Have fun: Being a dad can be fun. Honestly, I never wanted kids but couldn’t imagine my life without them. It is fun. If you let it be: Riley peed on me the other day while I was giving him his bottle. I told him “Either you peed on me or I finally have dementia and peed myself and don’t remember… either way” (have to see fun in something. All about the Attitude. Being a dad is fun if you have the attitude (I live in my own delusion and love it.. real or not).

2.)    Listen. Over time, even with a kid as challenged as Riley you will hear what they are saying. I promise if the Cerebral Palsy would let him, he would probably give me the finger once a week. Instead I get expressions and movements. A relative once said if you hear what she is saying by not saying, you will be a great lover/husband. I think it also applies to being a dad.  Every kid typical or not is trying to tell you something.  When my other son is silent in the car I know something is wrong.  Listen to the silence.  Listen to their world.

3.)    Just go through the motions (sometimes you want to cry, scream or something). With my other son I have heard more about Minecraft than I care to. In the car he will go on and say “do you know when…” I have no idea when… but I tell him I do. I have no idea what Riley needs at times but his motions control my motions and can either make me a better day or a really shitty one. When I say “go through the motions”… it is reacting to Riley’s motions.  If his motions are bad, I need to make mine good.  If his motions are good.  I will embrace them all the more. SAMSUNG

4.)    You will fuck up. Ok, you might think because you have a disabled kid you already covered that base. Trust me you didn’t … even if your actions contributed, it was the past… probably your kids condition had nothing to do with you… But as a parent you will (f) mess up.   I think that is what my Dad taught me (his jail time, lack of being around, everything). He made mistakes with me when he was around and not around. Damn I grew up fast. But, truth be told, I am his son (even though he left me through his own hand) and his fuck ups taught me a great deal. But, as a son I realized that even though dads fuck up there are two principles that do not change: A.) Dads are people too. B.) Sons will love their Dads. Even if they deny it as I did for a brief period in my life.

With my Dad… he was Fun (REALLY crazy fun). He listened (I don’t think he every realized I was a kid when he talked to me. He respected me and actually talked to me.). He went through the motions (he had me way too young but tried). He did fuck up.  But he also was amazing as he did it and taught me so much.

I do all of these things (fun, listen, motions and fuck up) as a dad. I even do more…. But. My intention on writing this is this…

I Titled this “what does it take to be a special needs dad”… Instead it should probably be “what does it take to be a special dad that is needed”…. I listed 4 of the things. There are more. So many more.  But I look forward to my fuck ups most of all. Means I am a dad that is trying. And like it or not. Ever dad in some way does try.

We are just people going through the motions while fucking up along the way.

*(and my apologies for the F word in this… but let’s face it F happens… otherwise we wouldn’t be Dads!  (oh, and moms had something to do with the f too).


2 Responses to What does it take to be a Special Needs Dad

  1. emily munro says:

    John, this was amazing; you are so honest;thank you for sharing with me; you are both marvelous parents and a great example to all parents; emily

  2. jenneine lambert says:

    I never met a man that reads his kids like you do.

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