Even when I was working in EMS full time we would go into the local Walgreen's where a nice young lady worked who my partner & I worked on after a really bad car wreck. Every time we would go in she would tell everyone standing in line the story of how she crashed & couldn't remember anything but our faces as she drifted in & out of consciousness. She insisted we saved her life, we were heroes, we were angels, but we weren't heroes…we weren't angels…we were medics & that's what medics do. I feel the same about fatherhood. A lot of time I get the 'Man, your the greatest dad' card or 'Your kids are so lucky to have such an amazing dad'. It's super flattering & I'm always as gracious as possible but in my eyes I'm not the greatest dad! The kids aren't always lucky to have me! I think the word hero is thrown around to easily these days. Again I say that's just my opinion.
This blog is a part of it as well. I get emails talking about how I'm a hero for autism or Super Dad! Don't get me wrong, I'm not down on myself I just realize that I'm not the best dad. Not only is that okay but I think it's a good thing. I've decided if I could point out or shine a light on my flaws, & if people could see them but still realize that we get by okay. We deal with the good times & we hit the hard times head on. In the end everything turns out just fine. Maybe if it's clear that if this mediocre parent like me can rock the crap out of Autism & parenthood in general then who knows what you can do!
I get a lot of emails asking advice during hard times. I relate the best I can, tell them how I would do it or what I did when we were in a similar situation. I also usually make a point to tell them that I don't have any good advice other than it's not easy, black & white, or the same with any two kids. All I know is if you do your best & work hard to advocate for your kid your bound to catch a break sometime! That doesn't always sound too promising to a lot of parents but I find it funny that we autism parents have a different view. Us autism parents are not so Glass Half Full & not so much Glass Half Empty but more "Really The Glass Is Spilled All Over The Table Again? Well At Least The Glass Isn't Broken This Time!" We can find a little glimmer of hope in just about anything. We have to! If not you'll go crazy!
Well, I hope this came across like I wanted it to. I hope I didn't come off as a... you know…
I had the awesome opportunity to appear on Autism-Live last week! Check out the clip below. If you've never heard of Autism-Live they have a bunch of great resources so check them out.
P.S. I realize after publishing this blog, I felt really good about the message but also realized I didn't really point out any of my flaws so I wanted to address those here:
Tom's Flaws & Shortcomings As Not Only A Father But Husband:
- I am THE single most sarcastic person on the face of the planet! Yes, I have a kid with Asperger's & I can not help but use relentless sarcasm 100% of the time!
- I sing everything I say to my wife… really like 70% of everything out of my mouth is in song form. I make up songs to tell her dinner is ready, I make up songs to tell her I need to run to the dollar store, make up wildly inappropriate songs to badger/heckle/razz her , & yes I make up songs to intise her to... love me ;) (HUSBANDS please note that the last song type mentioned works only about .001% of the time & even when you break out the Antonio Bandarez voice it will still be very unsuccessful!)
- I sometimes let the kids say bad words when mom isn't around! That's right, I said it! When my wife is out of the house we fart, say off limits words like crap, & make inappropriate jokes about nuts! (They went to see the new animated movie Nut Job & came back with a new slew of "Hey daddy, the squirrel was trying to hide his….nuts hahahaha! Yeah so that's inappropriately cute but when my youngest got in the car the other day & said to his mom "It's so cold out there! I'm freezin my nuts off!" We both got a talking to & now don't make those jokes!)
- Lastly, my full luscious head of hair. These kids think that they are gonna be okay but they are not. Every guy in my family is bald. I've just dodged a bullet by some sort of sick luck & will almost, without a doubt, be bald by the late thirties! (This is simultaneously a bad thing for that reason & one of the only things I still have going for me as well!)
Okay okay you think a guy could be serious for a second but nope, I can't! Sorry! :)