Saturday, March 26, 2011

Daddy rules the world...

Part of me thinks I should be offended, and to be honest, part of me is - a little.  Really, though, I think something very important is going on.

We've had a lot of change in our lives over the past three months. We've started homeschooling. We've sold the house. Our timetable morphs all the time depending on what we are working on (professionally... TV demands the hours, not the other way around). The change is still going on (did I mention that we are three weeks away from settlement on this house and we... um.. haven't found another one yet... aaah). But one really important thing has grown stronger and clearer and brighter in this time.

Billy and Daddy are a team. Without wanting to give Charlie Sheen any more airtime than he's already got (because clearly my blog sucks in the readers like the big boys), Billy and Daddy are a winning team.

Daddy will fix anything. Daddy has all the answers. We need to call Daddy many times in the day to tell him what happened. Daddy's potential feelings are referenced all day. Daddy knows a lot of stuff I do not know. Daddy will let him do stuff, even if I say no (we're working on this one as a family...)

There are so many good things about this, in my mind. It shows that Billy can and does understand relationship dynamics. It shows that my boys have a great bond. It shows that Billy's Daddy is a really, really wonderful Daddy. In many ways, Billy has the world at his feet because of his Dad.

Here's how.

Billy is seven and a half now. He's a boy. He loves physical activity and video games and computers and animals. He likes to watch things crash and fall, and he thinks it's unbelievably funny. As a girl, who's brothers were older than her, I am in a whole new world of confusion. Violence (even animated violence) just isn't funny to me. But as I type, I'm listening to Billy giggle as he drops a car on Bart's head on the PS3.

Thankfully, Daddy is there. Daddy gets it. Daddy has remarkable patience. Daddy shares his fun. In a responsible way, of course.

It's not just about video games and violence, though. It's about faith.

Daddy isn't ruled by fears. Daddy deals with the 'what ifs' when they happen, not in fifteen ways beforehand. Daddy gives things a go and accepts the outcomes for what they are.

We play good cop-bad cop autism style.

I've got the back story and the google degree and the advocacy fuelling my engines. I've got the educational aims, the therapy goals, the (vaguely) linear path in my head. I'm accountable to the doctors, the teachers, the therapists. I've got the diet and the medicine and the cuddles. This is all delivered to Billy in a gigantic pillow of love, but if I'm honest, there's rarely a moment where I'm not thinking, 'Holy Crap, what's next? What should I be aiming for, investigating, trying to improve??'

Daddy on the other hand, has got life. It's a hell of a weight, really. He drives the family bus, collecting the fares, paying the bills, sorting out the dings and scratches (mostly caused by me). He holds us together and moves us forward and keeps us laughing.

I've never heard him complain about autism. I've never seen him show he's embarrassed by Billy's behaviour. I've only seen him guide and challenge and love.

It's not like we don't have bad days, and it's not like we don't both get it wrong. We cross purposes and paths (and swords) all the time. But the point is this.

It's about some kind of balance.

I think someone has to have the autism in the front of their focus. If we had decided to just love Billy and ignore the therapeutic stuff, he'd still be sifting dirt and running trains in front of his eyes. On the other hand, if we were both autism crazies, we risk missing out on the pure kid fun and all the learning and development that goes along with that.

Somehow, by respecting each other's focus, remembering to communicate and allowing each other to do what we do as parents, Billy comes out the winner.

This journey is definitely not the one we one we thought we were going to take. Autism has changed our lives on every single level - emotionally, financially, logistically. We don't get much of a chance to talk about it, but somehow we keep on going forward - sometimes lurching, sometimes stalling, sometimes flying.

And sometimes falling and crashing into things.

Billy loves those times the best.


Anonymous said...

Just beautiful Val,
You have definitely found the balance that we are still striving for.

We have a similar dynamic here except I still resent that I feel like I do everything and he just gets the "fun" stuff....

DQ said...

Yes, the Daddy in our house is so much braver than me - he is the one who started the 'take the boys to Toys R Us when they earn a reward' system we have going (about once every 2 months, for the record!) I would worry about all the 'what if?s' and he would just get organised, set the expectations, and so far, Perky handles it with great style. Captain Nintendo? Some angst is guaranteed - he falls into 'what if?s'. I wonder where he got that from?
Anyway, more beautiful, inspiring, thought-provoking words from you. Thank you for once again reminding me of how much there is to celebrate and recognise in my own life. :)

Nicole English said...

He is moving into that phase of his life now where Dad is his biggest influence. It's no longer Mum, sad but at least he has a good one :)

Ro said...

Yep, pretty much the same here - he gets to go to all the sports stuff and social groups (which apparently don't count in the eyes of a twit psych but that's another story) and I stay home doing the boring backup stuff lol.

Anonymous said...

What a great blog post Val.

I'm over the moon that you, Billy and Daddy have such a great team approach to all of Billy's challenges.

I'm sure the right house will be there, at just the right time! But glad it's you, not me...

Dana Meijler said...

simply beautiful, Billy is so lucky to have you both as parents. Thanks for another lovely post!