Yesterday was my dad’s birthday. He died when he was 55. That was over 30 years ago now. I just realized how much more living he had to do. My dad, was one to meet me where I was. Neither of us talked much. We would sit on the couch together and just be silent. I would trace his tattoos on his arm and play with his ring. He was special to me. He was my world.
Having FASD makes your world so confusing, but we find places and people that can be calming. We find solace in things that others do not understand. when you live in a world of such confusion, it is such a breath from fresh air when you have someone who just gets you. Just for who you are and does not expect you to be different.
Swimming was what got me through some of my tough times. I had this energy that would not quit and i was ADHD and everything else…lol. My dad would be waiting for me at the end of the blocks when i would get done with an event. His smile said everything to me. He didnt have to speak a word. I knew he was proud.
When he found out that my disabilities were permanent and significant, he made me a chalk board and an entire basement for my eyes exercises and balancing problems. He made me a balance beam so I could practice. With the chalk board, he had me take 2 pieces of chalk and make them meet in the middle to make my eyes work together.
He never, again, had to say a word. He did it with me. He loved me. He cared. He wanted me to be my best, but he never made me feel less than for having these disabiliies. He knew I did not understand the way other kids did. I was only 11 when he died. but he spoke my language.
He just loved me where I was for who I was. I always felt accomplished even though I was so much lower in abilities than others. He focused on my strengths and would just shoot me that smile and the whole world was okay.
I couldn’t read like others. In fact, I couldnt read a book until I was older. Much older. All the words blended together. Each line seemed like one long word. I did not see separations.
I could not write like other kids. I never saw the whole page and I would cut about an inch of the line I was supposed to cut. My brain was just different. He was my adopted dad. He made me feel ok even though the world made me feel bad.
He was the best man in the world. I could look at him and just know that I was important. I had worth.
He died when I was 11, like I said. My world was never the same since.
I know when he died, that I was his angel.
In a world where all you do is struggle, we are constantly looking for places that we fit.
Him and me…we fit.