This month at Special Needs Mama, Vicki Forman writes about her husband, Cliff, and the joy and purity of Cliff’s relationship with Evan.
And Rob Rummel-Hudson writes about special needs fathers at Schuyler’s Monster. His perspective includes a look at being a dad in what’s often a mom-filled special needs world.
Our family’s experience is both. In the beginning, when the twins were just home from the NICU, Tom was Avery’s mama. I say this with all due love and respect: Tom knew infant CPR, he knew how to manage the oxygen tanks and the canulas and the little black box that quietly measured each of Avery’s breaths, it’s green light a constant, continual reminder that we were not, yet, on steady ground.
Tom did other things, too: he figured out how to feed Avery so that Avery didn’t spit up; he had a method for calming Avery that involved whispering to him (I don’t know what he said, but it always worked) and in those early, hazy, messy months, Tom was the expert on all things Avery.
In time, Bennett had his surgery, Avery came off the monitor, life settled, and I was able to learn about my second son, because Tom taught me. And whether it was because it made the most sense, or because it fit each of our personalities, or maybe both, Tom began working more again, long hard hours, and I took over the care of the kids.
So now, Tom is Dad–the one who causes the children to light up simply by walking through the door. And I’m Mom, the one they turn to whenever someone needs a boo-boo kissed, or a fuss settled. I’m also the first to receive crayon drawings of circles and lines and letters, an “O” or an “I” or a “T”; the first to hear a new song; the first to get an unexpected hug.
I’m glad our kids have both mama-love and papa-love. They are different, but each is essential.