I am a very lucky man – I’ve got an amazing wife and am the father to three wonderful kids. Lylli was born on Halloween in 2008, Gracie was born November 2010 and although she only lived for 17 months, she will remain as much a part of this family as the rest of us, and Mickey Gray, our first son, was born in June of 2012. I’m not going to say that life has gone exactly as I would have wanted, but it is a good life and I am determined to make the best of it.



This blog is an attempt to document my quest to become a dad that my family can be proud of.






Friday, May 20, 2011

You'll Get!


I was so excited to see so many people at the benefit for Gracie – the night was full of so many moments that I will remember and be thankful for forever.  There was one moment that keeps coming to my mind over and over since that day.  A couple of my friends were high school sweethearts – Pat and Shannon managed the long-distance college years, were married, and are the proud parents of two amazing boys.  Their oldest son, Cole, has autism.  I’ll admit that we haven’t exactly stayed in touch throughout the years – heck I probably only see them once every couple years.  But I have always liked and respected them both very much and in the age of social media (facebook, blogs, etc) I’ve been able to see a little into their lives.  One thing that is very obvious is that they handle being parents of a child with a disability with a lot of class (I might add – their youngest son is also a great example of how to be the sibling of someone with a disability) – I hope to be able to do the same (although I often feel like a duck these days – appearing to be moving smoothly, but kicking and flailing franticly under the surface) –  I know Ds and Autism cannot be lumped into the same group for many reasons and I feel sort of weird doing it because Gracie is Gracie as Cole is Cole and I already feel protective when someone sees Gracie as that Down Syndrome kid as I’m sure they feel when their son is seen as that autistic kid – they are both kids first who happen to also have disabilities – but I’m speaking about similarities in the fact that we will need to consider things like being an advocate, working on socialization and inclusion,  etc. – things that families with typical children don’t need to consider as much --   Anyway – as they were leaving – I thanked them for coming and also thanked them for being an example that I hope to follow.  As they walked away, Pat turned back to me with a very emotional look and shook my hand  – he looked at me in the eyes and repeated to me a few times “You’ll Get”  -- what he was saying was that there will be people that say oh – I couldn’t do it, etc and you’ll have moments where you’ll wonder if you can – the truth is yes there are some bad/frustrating/challenging things that come along with being the family that includes a child with a disability – but he was assuring me with those two words that I will get more good out of it than I ever could have imagined.  “You’ll Get” – I like it -- thank you Pat     

2 comments:

  1. Shannon SchustedMay 20, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Thank you for the amazing post Rich. To you, Carrie and anyone else who may read my comment... Pat and I were so touched and humbled by our conversation as we left the benefit. Here you are complimenting us on how well we are doing with our son, and you have a daughter who is about to have major heart surgery. I don't know how else to say it, other than we didn't feel "worthy" of your praise. Disabilities aside, you guys are chartering waters that no parent wants to tread. Cole is perfectly healthy and we are incredibly blessed for that. I hope you two realize just how amazing you are and how much we all look up to you for how "gracefully" you are handling this journey. We are incredibly happy to hear of Gracie's progress and want you to be proud of the stellar job you and Carrie are doing.

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  2. (thanks for sharing, Shannon)

    And Rich... you guys rock. And like Carrie said on CB the other day... I'm looking forward to hearing "just" about Down syndrome and advocacy stuff from you guys. :-)

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