It’s Different for the Dads

I imagine it’s different for the dads. The dads like my husband.

Last night I sat in the bleachers of a cold hockey rink watching my middle son play hockey. I glanced back behind me and took note of all the dads standing in a row.

My husband was sandwiched in-between a group of 5 or so men. A snapshot out of the suburbia playbook.

They all shared a striking resemblance. Middle aged men. Black jackets. Black facemasks. All wearing hats.

We are in the stage of life I suppose. Our peers are all just like us. Kids, mortgages, jobs, sports.

I overheard them talking about the new youth sports restrictions. And different youth hockey programs.

Every so often one would yell out a praise or a critique to their son skating down below.

They were talking shop. Like dads so often do.

I found myself studying my husband and thinking about his differences. And how it must be different for the dads.

The moms I know talk about autism all the time. The words flow effortlessly, the emotions not held back. Most things are heavy, but we are used to it. There are a countless number of places and people, whether in-person or online, where I can talk about the secret world of autism.

I imagine it’s different for men. For the dads.

It took my husband years to be able to talk about autism openly, but I know if asked about Cooper in this moment, he would beam with pride sharing all of his joys, successes, and quirks.

Because he loves his boys. All three of them. He doesn’t love one more because he plays sports or one less because he has an IEP.

There is no difference for this man. But I imagine talking about it is. Simply, because there are less opportunities to discuss it.

The weight of having a child with special needs isn’t lighter for dads. They just carry it differently.

There is an isolation that comes with having children who march to the beat of their own drum. The ones who don’t shoot baskets or get invited to birthday parties. Instead it’s clinic appointments and therapy waiting rooms.

That’s the isolation part. And I don’t necessarily mean isolation from rarely leaving your house, even though that’s very real. It’s isolation from your peers. And isolation from fitting in. And isolation from sharing your life.

Let’s give a shoutout to the dads. The ones who carry treasures, sit at IEP tables, crush up meds and wipes mouths, and pave the way for their little people. The little people who aren’t typically discussed rink side.

It’s different for the dads. Except for the love part. That part is in abundance.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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