Anyone that knows your daddy or even meets him for the first time, for that matter, can see he truly is one of a kind! A dedicated, compassionate, loving man, who can see the good in anyone or any situation, genuinely caring for the well-being and success of not only his family but all that walk into his life.
With daddy being the master of going above and beyond and knowing no other way then giving 110% to everything he does, we were anxiously awaiting this weekend to celebrate him, and it couldn’t have started off any better!
It all began with an unusual (but welcomed) occurrence from you sleeping in until almost 7:15! That’s the autism equivalent of noon for most neurotypical teenagers! Happy Father’s Day to all of us! Score!
Cue Ruby licking me excessively letting me know you were on your way and like a sack of potatoes you flopped all 70+ pounds of you onto our bed. Not so gracefully bouncing your way up to snuggling in between us.
Feeling well rested having had an extra 3 hours of sleep than most days, I rolled over to see if perhaps I could be greedy and catch a few more z’s during this morning snuggle time. Unfortunately, I realized rather quickly that this gift of sleeping in came with a price and our bed was now warm and wet with pee-pees (pull-ups can only hold so much from a 7 1/2 yr. old) - and we’re up!
With my list of to-dos growing longer already, now including washing mommy and daddy’s sheets, it was time to get moving cleaning you up and executing phase 1 of our Father's Day celebrations - daddy’s special breakfast!
Heading into the kitchen Gabe was already well on his way to mixing the lumpiest, blue pancake batter I’d ever seen. I guess you could say he was kind of all of nothing on the blueberries adding two full containers to what was about to make maybe 4 pancakes.
We all did our part with a little divide and conquer - I handled the stove, Gabe the griddle and Clara the coffee. Your job - also super important was to keep your tiny fingers away from any of the many heat dangers in the kitchen, so you happily headed out to fed you sensory diet on the swing.
With eggs and fixins done, coffee far sweeter than his usual black and Gabe producing some very smurf-like pancakes, daddy made his way downstairs and you inside simultaneously.
While everyone shouted, "Happy Father’s Day" you started in with “Z!” For reasons unknown to us, every time you see daddy you seek the opportunity to give him a letter and vocab lesson with the letter “Z”. Excessively grinning and stimming you shout “Z” continuously until he repeats it back and only move on when you believe he has said it properly, eventually getting to the end of your lesson teaching daddy the word “zebra.”
As you worked with daddy on getting the word zebra just right we set the table and prepared for his gift giving.
Now with daddy never wanting to be fussed over with special attention or gifts, I encourage all of you to come up with creative ways to gift the things we know daddy loves! Addie y'all (yes even you with the help of Clara and Gabe) nailed it!
Clara said cheese & crackers “I know it might sound cheesy but, you “crack”er us up”, Gabe said golf “Fore you on Father’s Day”, and You with the help of Clara and Gabe gave Reese’s pb cups “There are so many “Reese's” we love you”- well played Clara and Gabe you all like pb cups and most certainly knew dad was going to share ;)
With gifts successfully adored by daddy and him happily finishing every ounce of his special breakfast, never once complaining about the hash browns that I thought were crazy salty, pancakes being super tart or the coffee tasting more like cake than java, it was time for church!
Always pushing the limit on being on time we found ourselves in an added challenge of getting stuck behind what seemed to be the Holly Springs version of Tour De France! We were a few minutes late for mass, but lucky for us we found an empty bench in the atrium perfect for our party of five. Now sitting just outside the church, we are in an area when some of your greatest auditory sensitivities can reach a tipping point. You’ve recently once again refuse your headphones, so it was a pack a bag of sensory distractions and pray for the best kind of day. Guess what Ad, our prayers were answered, and you did amazing! You even happily stimmed and smiled at a few toddlers who in the past could’ve suffered your wrath from their giggling or crying sounds.
With church a success and you now talking about cheeseburgers we knew lunch must be quickly approaching, so we headed to our neighborhood clubhouse to enjoy a quiet meal. Let me tell you, Addie, we are beyond blessed with the management and staff that go out of their way to be so understanding and caring to our family’s needs. They always ask us to pick where we would be most comfortable sitting (even if that’s in a separate dining room that may not be open) and never seem to be bothered by the volume that sometimes accompanies our OTOD dining there. Even better, they always make a point to talk directly to you not always through us. You see Addie, even if you don’t answer or only stim with noises in response, the art of conversation is foreign to you and not exactly comfortable, so them giving you an opportunity to work through that and practice, well, that right there means the world to us and it melts my heart every time.
With a successful lunch, we headed back home for a little chillaxing before daddy was headed out to play golf with Clara and Gabe. Seeing you have an excessive need to gather like objects we thought it may be frowned upon if you went around collecting everyone’s golf balls on the course, so we decided you should stay back with mommy for this one. You, unfortunately, wasted no time noticing everyone gearing up to go somewhere which surely meant in your mind “we’re headed to the pool!” So, you quickly and on the first try got your swimsuit on...let's just say the next two hours we're not exactly your finest moments with the disappointment of it being golf for others and not the pool for you. I may have been twitching when everyone returned home, but just another life lesson that sometimes in life we have disappointments. Although you acted like it was the end of the world, you clearly survived.
The rest of our crew eventually returned, and all was right in your world again. We ate dinner, washed up and you were headed to bed ready to rest from a full day.
So, this weekend we celebrated your daddy. The man who with long days at work never hesitates to jump right into our chaos of whatever may be happening when he gets home. The man who is by far the best at washing your hair, getting your tangles out and giving haircuts. The man who never thinks twice about handling whatever self-care needs you may have from potty training, changing diapers or brushing teeth keeping in mind that these needs may only grow more complex over time. While he can’t always be at IEP meetings or therapy sessions he’s forever present in all decisions implemented and well aware of all progress being made. He’s mastered meticulously measuring meds you need and never tires of reading the same stories day after day because they are your favorite. He can kiss a boo-boo and wipes tears like the best of them, but cleaning up vomit...well, let's just say he has a bad gag reflex.
With all he does and gives to us, he continues to lead a life of great example for us all. Reminding us to have compassion, empathy and drive in all that you do. While showing us every day that if you truly love your work, it won't feel like work and to always be proud of who you are because you were made perfectly to be you and each of us has a purpose in this life.
Being a special needs parent can be exponentially more challenging than that of the average parent, but your daddy handles it with such grace and ease.
It truly is One Team, One Dream although it’s not always seen on the surface, from the youngest to the oldest we all do our part.
While Father's Day is only but one day a year, we hope he knows how much we learn from him, appreciate him, and love him not just on Father’s Day, but all the days in between.
There are just oh so many “Reese’s” to love him.