This blog was originally published on March 26th, 2012. In honor of all our Thinking Dads out there, we feel it bears repeating.
We always hear about The Moms. Thinking Moms. Warrior Moms. Moms doing it all. But what about The Dads? As a divorced mother of two boys with ASD, I initially thought this is not the piece I should be writing. As I struggled with writer’s block, staring at the screen hoping for inspiration as my deadline crept closer, I started to think of all the Dads in the struggle. Dads I know that are ultra top notch humans. My Brothers in this battle. I write this piece for them, a homage to The Thinking Dad.
Personally, I don’t blame autism for my divorce. I don’t think autism destroys strong marriages. It intensifies the hairline fractures that were pre-existing, adding pressure until the crack becomes a canyon. My ex huband KNOWS what happened to his children. We watched it happen in front of our eyes together. He stayed home and cared for Big Son from age 1 to 2 while I worked. He came on “well visits” and watched as we got vaccine after vaccine, on schedule of course! That’s what good parents do, right? He has changed hundreds of exploding, toxic yellow poop diapers. He’s cleaned up projectile vomit more times than I can count, including the time Big Son puked in the pool. He applied salve to the random sores that developed on Big Son’s little body. He witnessed many petit mal seizures and sat with me in the Doctor’s office as this idiot told us it was nothing, that our child was just over stimulated. He stressed out along side me when the words weren’t coming like they should. His children were sick and no one listened. He has two vaccine injured children. He is still their Dad, regardless of our marital status.
Men grieve and process differently than women. They are taught to stay tough, don’t cry, stuff that emotion. They don’t have as much support as we do. They experience the losses differently. Some think Mom has just gone crazy. Some turn to the bottle or drugs to cope. Some crumble under the pressure. Some don’t stick around. Some Dads suck and bail on their children. But many don’t.
Some Dads work two, even three jobs to pay for therapies, supplements, doctor visits and labs so Mom can stay home and care for the children…
Some Dads serve in our military. Off to fight wars on the other side of the globe while constantly worrying about the war their wives are fighting back home. Battles for coverage, treatments, and appropriate education in a country that has damaged their children and refuses to acknowledge it. How’s that for a slap in the face?
Some Dads get home from working all day long and take their kid out to ride the train or bus EVERY NIGHT without complaint because this is something the child loves…
Some Dads spend their weekends retrofitting the house with locks, latches, and alarms to be sure his child can’t escape in the middle of the night and get lost in the woods…or worse…
Some Dads educate their co-workers about the flu vaccine, resulting in the entire office making an informed decision to NOT get the shot…
Some Dads are the perpetual cheerleaders, encouraging their wives when they get down, believing 100% in their spouse and Recovery…
Some Dads attend every special needs sporting event and cheer like their kid won an Olympic Gold…
Some Dads sell the old car they rebuilt from bare frame to beauty to buy an HBOT chamber….
Some Dads have their own hand mill and grind flours fresh from whole nuts and grains so they are sure their child is eating the cleanest food possible…
Some Dads learn sign language so they can further interact with their child…
Some Dads leave work after a frantic phone call to come home and assist in cleaning up after a poop smearing episode that has left the entire house smelling like a sewer…
Some Dads wake up every few hours to administer chelation doses so Mom can actually get a solid night’s sleep…
Some Dads insist Mom take a weekend every month or so to get out of town, go visit friends, and have some down time…
Some Dads pile the kids in the car to just get out and drive for an hour so Mom can take a nap or a shower without interruption….
Some Dads have no idea what us Moms are talking about as we ramble on about methylation, cerebral folate deficiency, and homeopathic energies but trust 110% that we are doing the right thing and support us with every fiber of their being….
Some Dads have taken the wheel on The Recovery Bus. Some of the most brilliant dudes I know! They stay up reading until all hours of the night. They cook food from scratch. Compound supplements into the daily slurry of nutrients the kid needs. Call insurance companies. Attend IEP meetings. Climb in the chamber nightly for dives. Go to conferences. Talk with doctors and researchers. Start foundations. Start political parties. Write books. March on Washington…
Then, there are the new generation of Thinking Dads, like my brother or my best friend of over 20 years. Dads that saw what happened to my kids. Dads who know I am an educated, smart, rational thinking person that has researched tirelessly for years on the issue. Dads who listened and made smart, informed, educated decisions about the health of their children…
There are PLENTY of Thinking Dads out there and I want them to get the accolades they deserve. So, to my Thinking Brothers on this journey with me, I raise my glass. It’s an honor to know you.
If you see a Thinking Dad, give him a hug and tell them how much they rock! It doesn’t happen enough and they deserve to hear it.
of the “Thinking Dad”, around here..have we always agreed on what couch to buy –NO…Have we always agreed on who should do the dishes…sigh…no..Have we always agreed on what is healthy food for Dad…sigh… no..
Has he ALWAYS supported, encouraged, discussed “necessary” research and investigations….YES..always. Not once has the “sad” state of housekeeping, lack of funds etc, been given priority over “necessary” research and investigations..
Has he ALWAYS discussed, considered, responded, researched new leads..Yes
Has he ALWAYS maintained interest in and support of new finds, etc..? Yup.
(laundery, houspainting, fancy holidays, will wait)
I am so very very blessed to have a phenomenal “thinking” Dad by my side every step of the way. I know how blessed I am though….as I meet more and more families…I am reminded constantly that sadly for the Moms out there and most importantly their children: my husband is not the norm.
The sad truth is so many dads suck.
Awesome to hear this post. I know & love a *thinking Warrior Dad*.
Momma T. of http://www.detourautism.blogspot.com
Thanks for telling my husband’s story, Poppy! He is just as much responsible for my son’s successes as I am! Our son is a lucky kid!!!!
My husband is this and MORE! Thank you Poppy for telling my husband’s story. My hubby has been as much of a reason for our son’s recovery as I have. Our son is a lucky kid!!!
Love my super hero always thinking brother Barry Smeltzer <3
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WE are just a DAD
JUST a Dad??? I beg to differ, Buddy 😉
I can’t imagine doing this Autism thingy without the partner that I have. He is SOME Dad. He has never missed an important medical appointment or meeting…ever. I want each and every Mom fighting this battle on their own to find such a partner. Praying for it.
From your mouth to the Universe’s ears, KF 😉 <3
I want to thank my amazing and wonderful husband for loving and caring so much about our family. He gives so much to our kids and me,with everyday that we have is a blessing and a challenge. Thanks to my husband my son is on track to graduate this year and we are so proud of him. I am so blessed,
Lots of great points. And yes the stress of special needs will intensify those cracks. Sad but true.
Thank You all for the kind words and messages. There are days I wonder how I keep going… My. New project can only save lives if everyone joins hands… Please Like http://www.facebook.com/AutismAid TannersDad Tim Welsh Co – Founder Executive Director AutismAid
Glad to see you here, TannersDad! I think of you as being one of the original Thinking Dads.
Tim I had you, among many, in mind as I wrote this. Thank you for everything you do. Love you, Brother <3
Oh POPPY! Thank you for this reminder. I needed this one. Now I know what I need to do when my husband gets home from work today. Love you!
Love you BK…and Mr BK ;-P
It’s so much easier with a supportive partner! Thank you to the thinking dad in my life who has studied and cleaned up entirely way more poop than anyone should ever have to in a lifetime:). Thanks Poppy for the shout out to the daddy’s in our kiddos lives!!! Mine means the world to me.
Hug him a bit tighter tonight 🙂
I love my Thinking Dad! xo
Kuddos to my son-in-law, Keith, who couldn’t love my grand-sons a second more than he already does and who is my daughter’s biggest cheerleader in their fight against autism! Thank you, Poppy, for saying this so much better than I ever could!
Thank you Lois…and Keith <3
My son-in-law Dave IS one of the SOME dads and I love him for it!
He’s a good egg, that Dave 🙂 Thank you for reading and always supporting TMR, Jane…you are a Thinking Grandma <3
Thank you for this post, Poppy! The dads all need to hear how much we love them.
You’ve got a gem..perfect match <3
I know this post will mean the world to the “Thinking Dad” in our family. He is in the fray as much as anyone, and deserves to be acknowledged for his efforts in “extreme parenting” (lol) and for his on-going involvement in stirring action beyond the autism community. He reads this blog religiously and values TMR’s forthright approach.
Thank you for reading…and thank Dad for reading daily, too!! Keep Thinking <3
David IS that SOME dad. <3 this Poppy
You got yourself a good one, girl <3