The first child you ever met with Autism was your son.
That’s a circumstance that you met with a steady hand, calm brow, and pocket full of patience.
I know you were excited when we found out that our first child would be a son. I know that you looked forward to playing catch and talking about dinosaurs together. I know also, that it’s probably disappointing that you haven’t been able to do those things yet.
What I know more than that, though, is that the grace that you have displayed in not having tossed a ball back and forth with our son or had an exchange about velociraptors versus t-rexes is to be commended. I know we speak often that we do not deserve praise or special attention for anything we do with our son because we’re his parents- we’re simply doing what we are supposed to do as those people in his life and it just happens that our situation calls for a little extra effort with him. You should understand, at least, that I notice you. I notice that you don’t force a ball in his hands because it’s something you want him to do, but that rather, you sit beside him nicely as he lines up rocks when we go outside. I notice that just because he doesn’t talk back to you, that you still continue to tell him everything about your days together and how proud you are of him every night when you tuck him into bed. And one day, I know the dino talk will come. In one way or another.
Today, on your 4th Father’s Day, I want you to know that you’ve been doing an extraordinary job being Caleb’s dad. His confidence, intelligence, and perseverance all come from you.
Happy Father’s Day, my love. Caleb won’t understand what today is. But know, anyways, that he wouldn’t be the incredible, amazing child that he is without you.
Erin and Caleb. May one year he find the voice to tell you all these things himself.