The Son I Always Wanted (Intro)

Posted on February 6, 2011


 

This is a book about my autistic son, Wil.

Is he the son I always wanted?

No.

But listen to The Rolling Stones sing “You can’t always get what you want, but… “if you try… sometimes… you might just get what you need…” Wil led me to an understanding of these words. Great philosophy? Who knows?  For me and fathers like me, the words hold a simple truth.  It is a great sadness that many fathers abandon their autistic children, leaving these innocents to the care of mothers who are are now burdened by a new child, but abandoned as well. But they still commit to do something which mothers do instinctively. I remember hearing often as I’ve traveled the years, “Only a mother could love it…” What a sad testimony to the strength mothers show and the selfishness of the male of the species.

Working with Wil, I have had to find patience I never knew I had. The ability to stay my hand when I wanted to strike. The courage to dig deeper and defend someone incapable of his own defense. I have had to learn about things I never really cared about. I’ve had to learn to accept the imperfections and injustices that are a part of all life, but more so for some. I learned of corrupt political systems, cruel school administrators, teachers, and the savage “pack” behavior of “normal” children.

What follows started out as a book of poetry, and in a way, it remains that.   Sometimes words alone will not say what needs said.  Experiences woven into the music of words, words which convey the tumultuous emotions inherent in parenting an autistic child may come from simple narrative… sometimes they need to find another means of expression.

I want to speak to those parents, especially men, who have discovered that they are the caretaker of an “autistic” child. I hope these words offer some relief, comfort, and hope to those whose love is often stifled, as mine has been, when they slam into the strange wall so effectively erected by autistic children, a wall which is a barrier to those of us who want to exchange hugs, kisses, and knowing glances… to know the simple joys and sorrows that we expect to come from parenting “normal kids.”

And in the end, I hope to make a case for how much richer life is as a result of fathering an autistic child.  My son has taught me about both our selves… more about me, perhaps, than him.  He has given me a gift that is unique and completely unattainable by “normal” parents. I hope too, that the readers, especially fathers,  find hope in these words, especially when they discover someone else has trod the same path.

My son has become my muse, my inspiration to sing.\

He is truly the “Son I Needed… and who became, more than ever, the Son I Wanted.”

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Posted in: Autism