Monday, April 6, 2015

A Boy Grows a Lot in Ten Years…So Does His Father

The mighty, giant Sequoia tree can grow to fifty feet, nearly half its mature height, in ten years. The light from our sun travels an unimaginable 58,656,960,000,000 miles in ten years. A child develops from an unborn, unknown anticipation to a giggling, lovable little boy. And a man can go from thinking he knew what life was all about and had it all figured out, to a mature, devoted father who can think of no other greatness than to be his little boy’s loving, protecting daddy and best friend.

My Mikey is ten years old today. Typing that makes my hands shake. My little boy is ten. It seems like I can’t remember a time when Mikey wasn’t in my life. I don’t even remember what a day was like a decade ago without him. And I can’t imagine a day without seeing him smile.

As much as Mikey has grown in these ten years, he has helped me grow, too. When faced with having a child, many people say they’re scared and don't know if they're ready...I guess I may have felt that way, too. When a child is born you can either learn and adapt to being everything they need, or you can stay immature and clueless and see the horrible impact on your child. I chose to adapt and learn and, because of Mikey's special needs, I had to truly have a trial by fire. Mikey has made me a better man, by far. My gratitude to him is something I can only express in my everyday actions.

Sadly, something else that has grown in the last ten years has been the rate of autism. When Mikey was born the rate was 1 in 166 children. Today it is 1 in 68 and 1 in 44 boys. My past ten years of life with Mikey has also been a life with autism. I think if Mikey were typical my growth may have been slower, as I said, autism has a way of forcing you to get your act together.

As I celebrate Mikey's tenth birthday, I also look forward to the next ten years. What will they hold for Mikey and me and his mother. What will they hold for autism? I can direct Mikey's ten years by being a good daddy. And I can influence autism in my own way by being an advocate. In both ways, I expect--and will settle for nothing less--than positive, life-changing results.

And so I close by wishing my little buddy the bestest, coolest, Chuck E. Cheesiest birthday ever. I love you, Mikey!
-- Daddy

1 comment:

  1. Danny, you're making me cry. So proud of the man you have become and how you can put your feelings into words. This was beautiful.