Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Likes Earned: 31
Likes Given: 5
I have a son with a disability. It's not obvious, partly because he works so darned hard for it to not be visible, and partly because he has talents and gifts in other areas that tend to compensate for his inherent shortcomings in others. For him each and every day is a struggle, and it will never change, never get better. He likens it to being in a foreign land without a guidebook. You see, among other things he can't pick up on non-verbal cues, and some of the nuances and subtleties of everyday discourse that we take for granted are lost on him. "What did he mean by that?" is a constant refrain to him. He finds it hard to make new friends and new situations are often terrifying to him.
So we were worried for him when he went off and auditioned for the vocal jazz ensemble, and thrilled when he made the cut. We delight in his involvement in writer's groups and camps, and are heartened when he runs for office on the Student Council. He has made such great strides. Still, I do have more than the usual parental anxiety as I think ahead to college next year. I know that he'll spread his wings and fly, but I do worry for him.
There are three things you need to know about him, and his disability isn't one but provides background:
First, he is without guile. He can't bullshit if his life depends on it.
Second, he is one of the most sensitive kids, despite what his diagnosis might suggest.
Third, he is one of the most amazing writers I have ever met. From an early age he has been writing stories and sagas and poems and essays, winning awards and being published.
So today when I opened a second present from him, his first being a really nice gift, well tought out, I was bowled over to find a small 25 cent piece and a note.
I present it below, and won't go into the details of why he ascribes certain virtues to me - it's all mundane in my eyes. I don't post it to pat myself on the back, far from it, but because I was so moved by this that I needed a place to just say that... he touched me very deeply.
There's a coin in this box. On it, you may notice, is the word "Bravery". I found it, to my delight, when I reached for my soothing stone. It's part of that set celebrating our UN missions and peace-keeping and details virtues in a Canadian context, but I'm giving it to you now to express an emotion. It has taken a huge amount of risk-taking and effort to overcome fear and the challenges in my life. Bravery is often difficult to stomach, much less show. In this I have had no better role model than you, and no better support behind me. It's taken an awful lot of bravery to reach where I am today, and I'll need an awful lot more as I carry on. Often that self same bravery that carries me through has arisen from you. As well, you yourself have demonstrated bravery to me every day, and every day when I ask "How was your day?" I admire you for having the strength and the bravery to carry on doing what you do. Thank you so much for all that and more - the times we've shared, the advice you have given me; here's hoping for so much more. The greatest of all has been noticing how I admire you more every year as I grow older.
The least I can give you is my love, and my support as you keep takling those difficult challenges in life.
Merry Christmas, je t'aime papa...
PS. Look two books over from the left end of the top shelf.
So... I did, and there was a simple notebook stuck between two books. Inside:
To Dad -
For when you just can't NOT write. No one is more of an inspiring writer to me than you...
Purveyor of Awesome since 1958.