Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The Biggest Game

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The Biggest Game

Article excerpt

One afternoon, I was reading articles from EXCEPTIONAL Parent magazine to my husband, Bill. When I finished the Fathers' VOICES section, I looked up to see tears rolling down my husband's rugged face. "It's a good thing, " he said, and walked out of the room, seemingly embarrassed by his show of emotion.

Several hours later, I was intrigued to find mY husband frantically writing away in a tattered notebook. Our two children kept vying for his attention, but Bill was completely focused on the project at hand. Finally, he took a deep breath and pushed his chair back from the table. Handing me the notebook, he said, "This is my story."

My husband has never been big on words or expressing his feelings. After reading his story about his relationship with our son, Gregory, tears rolled down my face also.

"This is wonderful!" I said. "Let me send it in to Fathers' Voices."

Bill told me that he didn't care if I sent it in or not. He said it just felt good to express his feelings.

I have enclosed my husband's story. I will also keep it for Gregory to read when he is older.

While waiting for my child to be born, I was like any other expectant father. I dreamed of the activities I would share with my firstborn son. As a young child and teenager, my life had revolved around sports. I dreamed about teaching my boy to throw a curve ball and catch a football.

I will never forget the day Gregory was born. When the doctor said, "It's a boy," I felt like I was walking on air. Then, reality knocked me to the ground. My son had sustained a brain injury after an excruciatingly long labor and nightmarish forceps birth. He was rushed to a larger hospital where he spent the next two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. At least he was alive, but I felt completely powerless to help him.

As the months went by, we began to realize that Gregory was not doing the same things as other babies his age. After many visits to specialists, we were given a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

I am an over-the-road truck driver. I was in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma the night my wife, Cara, gave me the news of Gregory's diagnosis. I was angry at the world. I prayed to God and to my late father. I asked, "Why has this terrible thing happened to me?"--as if I were the one with cerebral palsy.

Now, four and a half years later, the son is teaching the dad. …

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