1. Denial

The world has gone ahead and lost its collective mind. People these days are too damn sensitive. This is the evolutionary thought that runs through the heads of fathers. To some degree, we can’t help ourselves. It’s a thought that’s rooted in thousands of years of bearing the responsibility of keeping the pack moving. Problems are things to be solved. Destinations are things to be reached. And so we keep our eyes downrange, beyond the edge of the campfire light to keep the wolves away. We fathers have important things on our minds. The general belief that people who lay…

9. Hope

I have this recurring dream that my son walks into my room, stops a few steps inside the doorway and starts talking to me. I don’t ever remember what he says. But he’s talking. We’re having a conversation. And then it’s over. Just like that. I don’t have it often. But every once in a while it wanders into my life. I know why. I want to talk with my son. Not to him. Or at him. I want to talk with him. I want to know the sharp edges and soft details of his mind. I want to know…

11. Joy

By the time I was 32 years old, I’d spent four years behind the walls at Annapolis, completed three tours in a war zone, moved a dozen times, finished business school, cared for my mother who was dying of ALS and had three children with my wife in three and a half years. I felt like I’d been ground to the nub. And I was ready for the part of life that was supposed to be fun. That’s when my son was diagnosed. Tolstoy was right about families. The happy ones may all be the same. But the unhappy ones…

12. Marriage

Marriage in a special needs family is many things. Easy is not one of them. Around here, we do a passable job at keeping it together in front of other people. We’re awesome on social media. Out in public or at parties or other social events we’re the model couple. We’re helpful, patient and affectionate. It’s not an act. It’s real. But we, like everyone else, tend to signal to the world the best versions of ourselves. Our marriage is no different. We’re a special needs family after all. And it gets ugly sometimes. The honest truth is that I…

18. Someday

For most parents, the season of our lives when our children are young looks distinctly different from the rest of our lives. It’s expected. We understand the burden of having young children. We know the time investment that it takes and the limitations of our children’s physical, emotional or temperamental state of being. We adjust accordingly. We don’t take the whirlwind holiday in Europe with toddlers and newborn in tow. We don’t climb Kilimanjaro on maternity leave. The trust we have in the temporary nature of this season is one the the things that gets us through it. And the…