For those of you who know me, you know that I barely have a filter. I say what I think and blog about what I think and what’s important to me…sometimes it drives my wife crazy because I’m probably living my life too open, but I don’t mind. I certainly keep some stuff back and I want to be open and honest to those I’m around or who reading my blog…after all, if Daddy Blogging and being honest with complete strangers isn’t what it’s about…why am I even blogging?
My father, who passed away in 2009, was a man who lived his life out loud! He was great in many ways. He and I became really close during and post my college years. We grew into a new phase of our father/son relationship as I got older and it was really special.
Dad would write me a Father’s Day letter every year. I still have many of them either in a box somewhere or online…I cherish them (when I can find them or have the time to re-read them). Dad liked to send postcards and write letters…it’s one of the many things that I miss now that he’s no longer here…and our long, daily phone conversations about crazy buyers, stubborn builders and housing in general.
As I was mowing the lawn yesterday I started thinking about dad’s letters and how I needed to get in the habit of writing William and Margaret (Wiggy and Margeaux to me) annual letters…so here’s letter #1…it’s to both children, but mainly to William who is now 6-years-old and has autism.
My dear Wiggy,
Happy Father’s Day to me. Six years ago I didn’t get a Father’s Day card or present and now I do because you are in my world. I am grateful for that. You bring me great joy! You are funny (although you aren’t that verbal) you are active, you have a love for people and a sensitive heart that makes me proud to be your father.
When people hear our story and of your situation I often get the question, “would you change anything?” and that’s a question that makes me pause. Why would I change anything? I love you, I love you, I love you exactly the way you are.
Do I want you to talk to me more? Sure. Do I yearn for more father/son time…conversations about your school, your friends, your interests…you bet. I mourn that we don’t have that bond…but if having that means I don’t have you the way you are…then I’ll pass.
I love that you love to jump on the mini-trampoline for hours and hours and hours. You’re going to have the strongest legs ever! I love how you always go into my closet to get my Chapstick so you can tap it…why do you do that? I love that you always try to wear your mother’s high heel shoes…strange but funny to see you walk.
I love hearing you say, “Margaret…come here!” over and over when she’s not in the same room as you because you want to play with her. You have a tremendous passion and heart for your sister and that brings me joy. I have the same passion and heart for my sister–Aunt Bitty–so I’m glad to see that has passed from generation to generation.
I don’t know what the future holds for you. I sure hope that you continue to progress in your language and abilities enough to go to college and get a job…but I don’t know if that will be the case. I sure hope that you are comfortable enough in a social situation to experience girls and the heart-pounding, fluttering rush of emotions that they can cause…but I don’t know. I hope that one day you will have a son of your own and that the three of us can take a trip to New York City and see shows on Broadway the way my daddy did for me when I was 10-years-old…but I don’t know.
What I do know is that I am going to love you and support you and continue to do anything and everything in my power to bring awareness to the world of autism and pervasive developmental disorders.
I am going to continue to work hard at my daily job to have the resources to send you to the best schools, to get the best therapy…and also to help others afford the same.
I promise to work hard promoting “Look At My Eyes” and “Mirame los Ojos” because with every book, with every speaking engagement and with every radio/TV/magazine interview, someone is going to be exposed to the need of so many children just like you who are dealing with autism.
I promise to continue to be involved in local and state government…to make sure my voice is heard and that my vote counts…that they know that I don’t care if they’re Red or Blue…that they need to get their act together and stop being selfish and petty in regards to school vouchers and therapy and funding and doing what’s best for those on the spectrum.
I promise to sell as many books as I can so we can donate more and more money to the Child Study Center and other fantastic organizations that desperately need funds to help the thousands of children they see and treat every single year.
I promise to love you, Margaret and your mom with all my being. I promise to always be there for you…to stand by you in success and in failure. To cheer you on–whatever it is.
But most of all, I promise to teach you about Christ. A father who loves you more than I can ever love you. A father who knows that you’re not a mistake…that wasn’t surprised that you have autism, that gave you to me and your mom because He is sovereign and perfect.
I promise to make an impact…to encourage others, to empower other fathers out there to get into the game and be the men that God calls them to be.
You inspire me and I love you for that.
Go In/En Joy