Michael is so excited about the Father’s Day gift he is making for his Dad. He has been talking about it all week. And yesterday, he let the cat out of the bag and told his Dad what he was making him. Then he realized that it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore now that his Dad knew what he was making him. He looked a little worried for a minute, until his father reassured him that he would love it and still be surprised. It was a cute few minutes. The other thing Michael is excited about is going out for breakfast at one of his favorite family breakfast places in our neighborhood. He announced that he wanted to go out for breakfast for Father’s Day about a month ago. I smiled and reminded him to check with his Dad what he wanted to do. After all, it’s his father’s special day. Since I work on the weekends, lunch is out, and dinner would have to be later, not the best thing for a child who gets hungry by five-thirty or six pm. So an early breakfast is actually the best compromise. Michael has come a long way in comprehending different holidays and events and what they mean. The other day a neighbor who sometimes gets him off the bus commented how aware he is of so many things. He knows where I work, he knows where he lives and streets around us. Lots of children on the spectrum have massive challenges in these areas. Here we are lucky that Michael has progressed so much.
There are still challenges with understanding someone else’s perspective, reading facial expressions, and of course, writing and understanding numbers and the concept of time. But slowly things are falling into place for Michael and us. I know he will get there. Looking at Father’s Day this year, brings to mind how his relationship to his Dad has changed. Over the course of the the year, their relationship has gotten stronger, I’m happy to say. Michael’s father has taken a more active role with Michael, and is confident in his parenting abilities. When he struggles, just like me, he has sought out help from me, other parents, articles, and professionals. This has not only in turn given him more confidence as a father, but as a husband and human being. I know the signs. I’ve been there. Though this Father’s Day is my husband’s day and all fathers with him, I feel in a small way that we are also celebrating Michael and me embracing this new side of his Dad. Yes, I’m sure there will be meltdowns, outbursts at some point on the day, (we are an Exceptional Family after all), but there will also be far more fun family moments to enjoy as we celebrate Michael’s Dad in the limelight as an Exceptional Father.
Exceptional Moms, what are your families planning to do this Father’s Day? Do you have your own special ways to mark the day? How do the Exceptional Dads out there feel about Father’s Day? It may get less press than Mother’s Day, but it is equally important, as Exceptional Dads have a big role to play in shaping their children’s behavior. So I give a big shout out to these fathers and wish them a great day and year of growth, love and special times with their family. Until next time.