Dad – what the “S” on your chest really means.
Dads are often the silent partners – the ones who stand in the shadows. They’re far from being the bad guys, though. In fact, they are the protectors of the family – the good guys. When danger strikes, they have the superhuman speed of Superman to react faster than a speeding bullet to fight off whatever threat has obstructed their paths.
A special needs dad might find this role to be different than what was first expected or imagined. Normally, from the time a child is born, a father dreams of tossing around a football with his son or taking him on a fishing trip to reel in a prize catch. A dad has dreams of teaching his daughter to drive and the importance of staying away from those nasty boys. For a father to a special needs child, though – and in our case a child with an additional visual impairment – those dreams are far from reality.
This might not be the job they signed up for, but they are here, defending our paths to progress. Did these fathers accept the challenge to fulfill the duties in this role? I hope so, because if they didn’t, they surly would miss out on one of the greatest of life’s adventures. The job responsibilities are so simple, but there is more than meets the eye, and it requires superpowers. What is a father’s superpower, you ask?
A special needs dad must be:
•”HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAY” -Mighty Mouse
~They must be physically strong – strong enough to bear the weight of the child. “Hold me daddy” when she is too big to carry. They must be mentally strong so that they can bear the weight of challenges and disappointments. They must have the strength to accept that small victories are enough.
• “YOU WOULDN’T LIKE ME WHEN I’M ANGRY” – The Incredible Hulk
~They must be sensitive to the needs to all family members. They must be ready to offer a gentle touch when tears start to flow. They need to have the ability to react appropriately to challenging situations whenever they arise. The presence of a shoulder to cry on.
•”I HAVE THE POWER” -He-Man
~Our fathers are those solid rocks that we depend on. They are the men who build the firm foundation that are designed to carry the load. These men have the power to know when to push and when to pamper. They are the reason we are grounded.
•”WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY” -Spider Man
~Appointments, therapies, conferences, IEP meetings, research, technology – the list goes on. The support from our fathers is immeasurable. They pave the roads that lead us far and wide in search of answers and a better way.
• “I’M THE BEST THERE IS AT WHAT I DO” -Wolverine
~They realize how special we are, but we also know just how special they are. Daily, they perform super human feats of compassion and care. It takes a devoted man to step up to the dedication that this role requires.
Only the elite dads accept the challenge of proudly wearing the “S” on their chests. The willingness and courage to be strong, sensitive, solid, supportive, and special. For those that have done so, I applaud you! Wear your “S” proudly.
Look my child! Up in the sky! It’s a bird; it’s a plane; it’s…your daddy! So, special needs dads, today I say the words you should hear every day: You are appreciated and you are loved. You are our Superheros.
Happy Father’s Day!
We love you