With Father’s Day beckoning, now could be the time to indulge in fatherhood musings. How my son, Isaac, has affected any perceptions I may have had. How he enriches the experience. And challenges it. How his autism may have sent us off course for a bit. How my role as a father in my universe sits slightly out of kilter with others’ universes.
But that feels unnecessary and unimportant right now. What feels very right and very relevant this father’s day is to celebrate something, dare I say it, more fundamental to Isaac.
His mother, who gave birth to him in barbaric conditions. And balanced recuperation with a stressed baby from day one.
His mother, who from that day to, well, perhaps forever, bats off judgemental glares and tuts from people who should know better but know nothing at all.
His mother, who had no place to hide from what felt like hell, when her husband could escape daily.
His mother whose instinct told her something was wrong but battled on because what else could you do? Who nodded unknowingly when other’s shared their similar stories; because in reality they were different.
His mother, who ferried around her sinking and struggling son to therapists and doctors. His mother, who never flinched in her unrequited love for her unresponsive son.
His mother, who kept calm when diagnosis was delivered. Seeing a future not finality.
His mother, who learnt and listened and devoured and dissected. So she was armed to the teeth with rights and knowledge.
His mother, who made the system fear her and not vice versa. Who got Isaac the right support, his statement of needs and who never ceases in improving his life.
His mother, who found him a school that was right. And another one when it all went wrong.
His mother, who campaigned not just on his behalf but on the many like him. Spreading awareness, sharing, inspiring, strengthening, surviving.
His mother, who sensibly delayed having a second child for the sake of her first. Before finding the inner strength to create a sibling for Isaac. Mixing nature with counter-intuition and most of all courage.
His mother, who tolerates swings in behaviour of an epic scale. Experiencing outpourings of love, bundles of anxiety and no little cruelty, day in, day out.
His mother, who knows how to push not punish. Comfort not compromise. Who can temper frustrations with empathy. Whose maternal instinct never wavers.
At best I play second fiddle to my wife’s orchestration of Isaac. Managing his days, taking him places, speaking to his school, arranging his time. She is mum, mentor, therapist and teacher. His absolute anchor. Which is why I see this Father’s day more than ever for what it is. An affirmation that what I do as a father is enabled and enhanced by the miracles managed by his Mother.