Reflections on Father’s Day

June 17, 2012

Well, here you go.  The sappy father’s response to being a father on Father’s day.  Let me start off by saying, and my wife will reiterate this, I am not an emotional guy.  I used to be but life experiences and a few wake up calls have left me a bit jaded.  I only tear up around my children, outside of that, I am a rock (except around the beer belly)!

I was pretty sure I did not want to be a dad.  I was married once before (prior to ZAKSMOM) to a wonderful person who wanted all the things that come with your standard marriage; house with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, the dog, etc.  I was on board for the most part but was always afraid of being a dad.  You see, I did not love my childhood.  Don’t get me wrong, I did not have a bad one, I just did not love it and I was a bit screwy in the head (ask wife 1).  She put up with a lot and did her best but ultimately, she lost to voices in my head that said “Brian, you’re no family man.”

After the marriage ended, I spent a lot of “me” time.  Much more than I did prior and let me tell you, I was selfish long before this period of my life.  I did a lot of things I was not proud of and even though I had a long term relationship in that period, I was pretty intent to just live a party life.

Long story short (I know, too late), I met ZAKSMOM, we dated for a while and I realized, this was the woman who could best put up with my sh@%!  And, she did for a short time but once we got married, she moved me into a house.  Then, 3 months into the marriage the “I want a baby” came out.  I was not ready and thought for sure it would take time for her to get pregnant so I very reluctantly agreed.  Like that, she was pregnant!  Damn me and my ability to procreate!  Now, if only I could be as good a father as I could…well, you know.

ZAK arrived in the world and I had all these great feelings.  Very worried, even spending time with the shrink worried how I was going to mess up this kid like I was messed up.  She got me to think of all the great things we would do; go to baseball games, teach him to play sports and learn to be a strong member of society.  And then the dreaded “A” word dropped in.  The selfishness returned.  I immediately started worrying about how he would not play sports, I would not get to coach his teams and well, how would he be treated by his peers.  On top of that, the kid was doomed since he was stuck with me as a father.  Sorry Zak but you are screwed!

I have been a father for 9 years now.  I can honestly say, although Autism sucks and is just plain sh@$tty (sorry for cursing so much mom) it has made me a better father.  I have learned to be patient.  I have learned to find solutions to problems that have no resolutions and to love something so much, it is indescribable.  My son, without his knowledge, pushes me to be better and demands that I try harder and insists on me finding ways to sneak in a hug or kiss without him getting away (though he is quite wily).

I did not want to be a dad, now I have to be the best dad I can be.  I love my son.  And my daughter (who can be sometimes harder to raise than the autistic kid).  I love my wife – she also pushed me to not only be better but pushed me to be a dad!  There is no way she was confident in my abilities going in but she is a much better person than I so maybe the good lord decided to take it easy on her and not make me as big a challenge as expected.  I never asked for the autism and I wish it would just go away (I feel the same way about Justin Bieber, by the way) but it has made me better.  At least I feel like I am better.  I only hope my family agrees.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine Lutz June 18, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Great blog! And believe it or not, I always knew you would be a great dad! Zak and Katie are lucky to have you and ZAKSMOM!

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zaksdad June 18, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Did you just out yourself? Thank you for the kind words. As you know, I am disturbed, depressed and dysfunctional. My children are lucky they have as few of issues as they do. All I do is pray they make it. Thanks and take care.

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Andy June 18, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Hey ZAKSDAD,
Thanks for the most amazing blog!!! I completely understand and agree. For me, too, it is the few loved ones in my life that continually support, encourage, and yes, even with blunt honest observations, provide the feedback that I desperately need to find those ways to become a better father for my son. At times it feels as though my engineer brain leaves me woefully prepared to be the father that I know I need to be, as I struggle to apply logic and understanding when trying to grasp how my son’s brain is processing the world around it, only to learn (without much surprise) that he defies logic. It’s as if I am the one with brain damage and my son is the teacher. And it’s usually in the middle of a rant that he goes from a rage to an absolute calm, in mere seconds, and then blurts out an off-the-wall comment, using language and vocabulary that I am convinced is beyond his age and ability, and as I fight back the urge to laugh with amazement I realize that it is those moments that drive me to overcome my feelings of inadequacy as a parent and makes me even more determined to be the best father for my son that I can be. I must be. And like you, if I can get one thing right, at least every now and again, well, then I feel like I am getting better and that gives me hope for tomorrow.
:-)

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zaksdad June 18, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Thank you Andy. I appreciate the kind words. It does feel good to get it right every once in awhile. Zak is exactly the same way. Can go from calm to meltdown to calm in flash. Also, your comment about your son being the teacher – I wish I would have come up with that. It is exactly how I feel. Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments. Keep in touch.

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zaksdad June 18, 2012 at 9:35 PM

And Andy, if you ever need someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to discuss and help if I can.

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