In honor of this upcoming Father’s Day, we’ve asked some dads to write about what they LOVE about being a “dad of” autism. Our first entry is from AHSS Senior Recruiter Johna Sommer’s husband, Vince Sommer. In his own words:
Father’s Day is a day I truly treasure. All my children, along with my wife, schedule their whole day around me. They generously give up their whole day to spend with me and make sure I feel special and loved. I’d be remiss however, if I didn’t say, this day every year, for the last 14 years hast brought on a mix of emotions.
Fifteen and 1/2 years ago I was blessed with my second baby girl. It was a day of loving being a father again, and the start of a new journey. As veteran parents, you expect things to move along as normal. More years of giggles, toys everywhere, and little feet running around with more energy than I could think of.
But then, you hear your child is sick, doctors aren’t able to predict if she will get better, and your fatherhood strength is tested.
You have 2 choices, focus on the challenges or focus on your child. I chose the latter.
- My child gives the best hugs.
- My child lights up a room every time she smiles.
- My child is sassy.
- My child is sarcastic and funny as all heck.
- My child has an innocent view on the world.
- My child, as a teenager, still wants me around all the time.
The journey teaches you to be strong and tough, even though it can feel isolating.
Autism can tear families apart or bring them together, much like any big life challenge. For my family, it meant we needed to come together and focus on knocking downs barriers, challenging every roadblock, and fighting for the best possible life for your child and family.
It may not be easy, but it is all worth it. Tough Journeys build strong families.
by Vince Sommer, father of a daughter with autism