Father’s Day means to a lot to our family. My husband started loving our son Angel before he was born. I remember being at our 20-week OB appointment and waiting to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. Angel’s dad never missed an OB appointment. Not one. I remember as we looked anxiously at the screen during my ultrasound to see if we could tell what sex our baby was. When the doctor told us we were having a boy, Angel’s dad was ecstatic.
He was so excited that he broke out his signature James Brown move right there in the doctor’s office. Soon he decided that her office was too small for him, so he took his jig out into the hallway. The whole office was laughing that day. Fast forward to 2014 and it still means a lot to celebrate the wonderful father that Angel’s dad is.
We celebrate because he loves Angel unconditionally. He is very hands-on with our son. He always has been and still is to this day. We each have our strengths when it comes to parenting and he embraces his strengths head on. When he speaks, Angel listens. He knows how to calm Angel’s hyper spirit.
When Angel was diagnosed with autism, his dad took it hard. Angel is our only child, so we had to wrap our minds around everything. Still Angel’s dad never stopped loving him. In fact, he loved him even more. He puts more effort into helping our son and guiding him. This is what fatherhood is all about.
Angel’s dad often says that he does not have any friends who have children with special needs, so I can imagine how lonely that can seem. I was so happy when he started going to a special needs father’s support group. It means a lot to him to be able to speak and relate to other dads who get it.
As a parent, Angel’s dad knows that our son loves him without question. Angel can’t say I love you but he shows that he does through his actions toward his father. He hugs him, kisses him, and they have their own father-son way of communicating. Angel loves going to the playground with his dad and this is just one more way that they bond.
As parents we both had to adjust how we celebrate days like Father’s Day. This year Father’s Day was about honoring Angel’s dad. It was also about letting Angel’s dad know that our son loves him and appreciates him even if he can’t tell him so.
This is our truth as parents raising a child on the autism spectrum.