Many years ago, Luau came up with a really great analogy. Or wait, maybe it was a metaphor. Hmm. Well, he came up with this .. um .. idea – yeah, an idea – that was really pretty illuminating.
I was frustrated. (Shocking, I know.) I’d been trying for months to get him on board with something that I was convinced needed to be done. He’d resisted in every way possible – from overt balking to more subtle devil’s advocating to the old favorite – passively infuriating pocket-vetoing.
I was getting nowhere. Or so I thought.
Then one day, seemingly out of the blue, there he was, essentially repeating back to me the arguments I’d been making for months, having now appropriated them as his own. After months of (seeming) inaction, he was now barreling forward with plans, setting the course I’d been trying to lay out in all that time.
“I don’t get it,” I said incredulously. “I’ve been saying this forever. What the hell changed overnight?”
He looked at me thoughtfully. “Jess,” he said, “I’m like a really big ocean liner.”
He let the words hang momentarily. I feared he was going to leave it at that, with me sitting there with my mouth hanging open wondering just what in hell it might mean to be ‘like a really big ocean liner’.
Thankfully, he had more.
“You? You’re like a speedboat. You flit around the water with your engines running flat-out. You change course on a dime and continue on over your own wake at full speed.
Me? I’m an ocean liner. I turn slowly. Sometimes really slowly. And I can’t gather steam until I’ve made the turn. But once I’ve made it, I’m committed to it. Then it’s full steam ahead.”
I can’t tell you how many times and in how many different situations I’ve come back to that conversation over the years.
When I’m trying desperately to figure out why we are where we are – when I feel like I’m running on all cylinders and he seems to be floating without direction. And then I remember. He’ll get here. It’s just taking him time to turn.
Three years ago, I begged my friend Neil to write a post for Diary. I’d never had a guest blogger before and it would be over two years before I’d have another. But there was something in the way that he told his story. There was something in his love for his kid. It was something universal – it was relatable; it was heartbreaking; it was inspirational.
Did you ever do something completely outrageous, if only just to satisfy your special needs child? It’s like a moment when you surrender to autism, and you can’t decide if that is good thing, a bad thing, or just a fact-of-life-on the spectrum autism thing.
In the post, he wrote about his son’s abiding love for garage doors.
Heads nodded in recognition. “I thought mine was the only one!”
He wrote about trying desperately to create something for his boy – something that would ease the pain.
It was as if an affirmative answer would have made everything all right, if only for a moment. I think as special needs parents, we always are trying to deliver those moments. Every once in a while we can reorder the world to suit our kids.
He wrote about love.
Read Neil’s guest post -> HERE <-
And I told him that day that he needed to start a blog. Yesterday. And everybody who read his post told him to start a blog. Yesterday. “There aren’t enough Dad’s voices out here,” they said. “We need you.”
I told him to take his time. I told him that we’d wait until he was ready.
Then an hour later, I asked him where his first post was.
But as the speedboats flitted around, Neil was hanging out with Luau. He was making his long, slow turn toward the course that would be right for him, when it was right for him.
It’s almost three years later.
Last week, I got an e-mail from Neil. The re line read, “So I did a thing.”
Oh, Neil, you did indeed.
Welcome to the neighborhood, my friend. We couldn’t be happier to have you.
Neil’s blog, Pucks and Puzzle Pieces
A little hockey; a little autism; a lot of love
Please check out these other Dads as well ..
@tannersdad (on twitter)
… and if you know of others that I’m missing PLEASE add them in the comments! Their voices are so important.