I remember the day like yesterday when Wilmien * called us. The long wait was over and we could finally have a baby.
It happened so unexpectedly, and under normal circumstances we would have 9 months to prepare ourselves as parents. But there was no time ahead. The circumstances in which they found you were certainly not ideal for a newborn baby.
You were so small. So tiny where you lay cozy and content in your new mommy arms. The whole idea of being a father has not taken hold of me, but I was proud of it! Here is my dear wife sitting in front of me after 16 years of praying and waiting, and still praying and waiting, finally with you – our son.
As you got bigger, we all knew very well that you had to be looked after very carefully, because you were a busy guy with very specific ideas of your own. You just wanted to take care of everyone’s car keys and as long as you could walk in your hands you were satisfied. You knew very well when it wasn’t real car keys and we couldn’t fool you. Later on, your love for cell phones began and today I am still amazed at what you understand about all the buttons, but that you do not have the ability to do simple sums.
When you were little, we often sought the wrong in ourselves for your difficult moods, but in your Grade 1 year everything began to become clear when you were diagnosed with autism. Who can guess if you look at you today. You look so normal! Like any other child – so normal – but nothing is normal in life around you.
Meanwhile, your sister (our own) was born 6 years after you. This is and will continue to be one of the biggest challenges today to give you both the best. Sussie is brilliant and could read before school, she participates in speakers and plays hockey (all in Gr. 1). You are two different worlds under one roof. No one, who is not part of our family, can understand how it really is in our home. I decided a long time ago that my clothes are your clothes too. That my time is yours too. That even my career is yours too and if my boss doesn’t understand your needs, I unfortunately can’t be on his payroll either.
It’s nobody’s fault. Not your biological mother who carried you, nor ours who raised you. There is also no other autistic child who is just like you.
Each one is different. Each one is unique. Each one is special.
It’s okay if you call us by the name and don’t say mom and dad. I will always be your father and never stop loving you because you are my son, my storm and my calm waters!
Today I understand what my father meant when he said he would fight his arms bluntly for me.
Dear Max*, I am writing this letter to you today from my heart – even if you cannot understand a word of it.
All my love,