My husband is a remarkable mix of so much. He is everyone's patient coach. He is the "fun" parent. He doesn't mind chaos or playing a silly game of make believe. He is the ying to my uptight and nervous yang. He is everyone's friend. He is the first to show up when someone needs help. He quietly cheers on those he loves without being the loudest voice in the crowd....but you always know he is there. He is my best friend. But more than anything else, he excels at the best job in the world...fatherhood.
My husband has always been an athlete and a leader. He is strong and confident. He doesn't waste time second guessing himself. He expects those around him to give a hundred percent and always gives credit for trying. He leads by example. All the qualities that led him to so much success in his athletic career have shown up as he has tackled a tougher job. Fatherhood. My husband has tackled this role the same way he has any other...with determination, hard work, practice, patience and humility. I marvel at the way he cheers on our children. Celebrates every part of them. Looks past their differences but acknowledges them as well. I know my husband has never seen being a dad to his children, as a job. It is an honor to him. A privilege. The most precious role he will every take on in his life.
I wonder some days if we celebrate him enough. Day to day life takes over and throws us in a million directions. The chaos of schedules, prioritizing and just living life makes us sometimes forget how precious we are in each other's lives. In our children's lives. Having a child with special needs makes the tasks at hand more challenging. So much time and energy goes into caring for Brady. Running him to countless appointments and therapies. Worrying about his differences, his delays, and all that makes him special, drains you and leaves you feeling helpless sometimes. Trying to understand how your son's mind works. Why milestones come and go so quickly. Why the words just won't come. Why as hard as we try to relax and enjoy our little boy, there are moments after moments that throw us back into the reality of our son's special needs and challenges. Our life is a constant struggle to make sense of the unknown, and accept the future before us. My husband and I hyper focus on Brady's needs. We get wrapped up in the right now. We push away thoughts of a scary future. After all this...we cheer on our daughter, remind her how special she is and make sure she never feels alone or any less important than her brother. Most days...I forget to say thank you to my husband. I forget to say I could not be on this journey without you. I would not want to be on this journey without you. I hope he knows that he is the foundation of this family. He holds us together, he supports us and loves all of us unconditionally. He reminds me that differences are only what the outside world sees. In our house, being different is celebrated. It exists in our hearts and it is what makes us a family...a family of a little boy with special needs.
Four years ago, on Father's Day, my husband celebrated the day with a party foir four in a little NICU room at Royal Oak Beaumont. Our son Brady was a week old and very ill. It was a very scary time. A time of unknown. A time of lots of prayers. A time when we knew our lives were changing but before we really knew how much. It was devastating for me to see my husband celebrating the birth of his second child...his son...in a NICU room. But my husband never felt the devastation I did. To him, it was a day of celebration. A day to celebrate his children. One beautiful little girl so full of love and life . One precious little boy, struggling to catch his breath, but full of so much fight. So we celebrated. Just us..a family of four. Enjoying my husband's role in this world. As he would say...the best job in the world. And today, on Father's Day, four years later, he continues to celebrate, with two children, so different and unique, but the same, in their love for a truly giving man. My daughter validates my husband's good work as a dad with kisses and a "I love yous" a plenty, but from his little boy, our Brady, one little smile and so much love radiating from his eyes, tells my husband all he needs to know, that he is passing the test of fatherhood with flying colors.