We live in a very self centered culture today, so it really takes a Special Dad to have and to be there for, a Special Needs child. Our daughter S was born four years ago in Tbilisi, Georgia (not the state) and had a few minor complications at birth. We still don’t know what the root of the issue is, but that really is irrelevant at this point. We no longer care if it is genetic or a symptom from the complications at birth. What we do know is that she has been categorized as having a developmental delay.
I never really thought about what it would be like to have a child with any sort of special needs. Our other children are, by all standards, normal healthy kids, with no abnormal quirks. For the first two years of S’s life she cried and needed attention almost non stop, and we still don’t know why, but what we do know is that according to her brain, it is as if those two years never happened.
Over the last four years I have learned a lot about special needs children and those who are privileged to be their parents. I have never met a stronger group of people in my life. Think about it, your children are the dearest thing to you (or should be). A real parent is willing to give up their own wants, needs, and even life for the success of their child. We spent the last year visiting Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to try and figure out the issues, and how we could best help S to develop to her full potential. During those many trips, I saw some of the most courageous parents on the planet. They were being so selfless, taking as much time out of their lives as was needed to be sure their child had the best possible outcome for the situation they were in, and doing it all with love and a smile.
It takes a special kind of Dad to know that your child will always have a stigma in the eyes of others, and to realize it is those others that have the problem, not your child. There are days and dreams that you lay aside to care for your special darling. To you, they aren’t something that needs to be fixed, they are your child. When you get over-whelmed and have to take time in a different room so your child doesn’t see you cry, when your heart breaks because other kids reject your little gift from God, when others make remarks trying to be helpful (that are really so hurtful), you show a deeper love than anyone could imagine. The awesome thing is you do it all on your own with virtually no one to confide in. Why, because you choose not to look at what your angel will never be able to do, instead you celebrate the small victories that they achieve. With each new word they speak your heart soars on the wings of an eagle, with every step they take, and new milestone achieved, you celebrate. Why? Because that is who you are, You Are Dad. There is no love like the love of a father for his child.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be dedicating a series of posts to you, the Special Parents out there. Know that you are not alone, and you are stronger than you know.