I met up with a girlfriend for coffee earlier this week and she mentioned she submitted her husband’s name into a contest that was looking to recognize Exceptional Dads on Father’s Day. There is no question that he deserves this recognition as he is a pretty exceptional parent to another little girl with Rett Syndrome. I only wish I knew about the contest earlier for in my humble and biased opinion, my other half is a shoe in as well. Now let me get the record straight, just because you have a special needs child doesn’t automatically make you an Exceptional Dad, it is an earned recognition and sometimes the task is not so easy.
Here are just some of the reasons I would have noted as to why Reilly and London’s dad is worthy of such recognition:
- Mike has never shirked away from sharing any care requirements for Reilly – diaper changes, bathing, dressing, feeding, etc.
- You can often hear him try out one of his many different character voices for the girls in attempt to alter their mood, which almost always result in giggles
- Shares in taking the girls to their respective extra curricular activities, even if that means ending work early and making up for the time after the girls go to bed
- Indulges London in her hockey interests (seriously this girl is driving this) by giving her daily updates on NHL games and practicing her hockey skills in the basement or outside
- He can single handedly care for the girls for a few days while I am away on business or a girls weekend. The girls are well fed and entertained during this time and there is never a question that he can’t or doesn’t want to take this on.
- Mike is an awesome cook and can come up with some creative options for everyone in the family to enjoy
- Setting an incredible example for both girls to never give up, boundaries are meant to be challenged, and that change can be a really good thing
I came across this quote that I think is sooooo true “It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping”. – John Sinor. I guess the point of this quote is that everyone expects a dad to do the obvious or the expected in a traditional role (i.e. fishing) and even though shopping should fit into this category if that is his daughter’s interests it often doesn’t, so for a man to do this speaks volumes that he views all of his children interests, regardless of gender, are worthy of his attention and time. This would be Mike.
I don’t think any one would deny or challenge that having a special needs child calls for additional strength, wisdom, and courage and we have come across many people who have said “I don’t know how you do it”. We often tell them, you just do and you would find a way but I think the truth is that we have made a choice, and a choice not everyone makes, especially the dad. Mike would probably say there really weren’t options as the only option he sees in his mind is the one he is following, and that is to not get bogged down looking at what could have been but rather working to create the best life possible for the family. I don’t think Reilly and London could have asked for a better dad!