Mar 8, 2007

Skyler turned 16 yesterday, and I wanted to post something at the time, but these people I work for had other ideas about how to spend my time. It was like one of the Charlie Brown specials where you hear the grownups voices as whaa whaa whaa deadlines whaa whaa need your edits whaa whaa whaa are you finished yet…

Boy, it’s kind of inconsiderate, don’t you think? I have other things to do with my time at work than work, geeez…

So this is a day late, but I wanted to share a few thoughts on Skylers 16th. 16 is a pretty big milestone for kids, you get your license, that newfound freedom of driving around with your friends and being independent. With each of these milestones that occur in a typical child’s life comes one more reminder about how different Skyler is, and what lies ahead for him, and for us.

When Skyler turned 6, I wrote this article that was published with the National Fathers Network. As I look back on it now I see the rookie that I was in the world of special needs. I was full of hope for all that Skyler could be back then. Now as a veteran parent, having fought the Medicaid system, the school system, and the world in general, my hope has been tempered somewhat by reality. I still have dreams for him, the only thing that is different is my experience has taught me that for every person out there that actually believes in him, there are a dozen who just want to warehouse him someplace where they don’t need to deal with him. So the dreams I have will be more dream than reality until the day when enough people can be educated about the value of people who have special needs, and what they can bring to society.

But dream we must, because if you don’t have that going for you, the enormity of the situation closes in on you. And you start to feel the panic of the clock ticking, and what will become of your son when the day comes you can’t care for him anymore.

So when you all walk by somebody in the days to come who is in a chair, or looks a little different than you do, maybe doesn’t seem to even know you are there, take a few seconds out of your day to say hi.

Just a simple hello.

It’s all a lot of folks sitting in a chair need to acknowledge their existence instead of a stare, and who knows – you might just be meeting a friend.

If enough people simply say hi, it could change the world.


  1. I have the greatest respect for your strength and determination in giving Skyler every advantage within your reach.

    It's the love between you that matters most. Skyler has you in his corner, something I know he counts on every day.

  2. Awesome post! I hope Skyler had a great birthday!

  3. Thanks you guys, it means a lot!

  4. Anonymous7:30 PM

    Yes, that 'Hi' will change the world. In the end, the littlest of things are the biggest things.

    Also, your post about this will change the world. The world changes, one mind at a time.

    The alternative to faith in our ability to change the world?


    I totally get anger, but I don't get bitterness.

  5. Anonymous5:06 PM

    oooh, hell yes. We just got the initial diagnosis from the pediatrician that my youngest is on the Autism spectrum. That makes THREE children out of THREE that are Auties. ::sigh::

    I like yer stuff... gotta make a point o' readin' more of it.

    Happy 16th, S!! C'mon down for a vacation in Florida o'er spring break! We'll go to the beach and google the chicks! We've got Jax beach, Neptune and Daytona within short drivin' distance. Oh, and parks and that sorta stuff-- your dad and i can drink free beer at Sea World.

  6. Happy BDay to Skyler, and continue to fight the world for what's right. That's part of why you're an awesome person.