I remember when a colleague, a psychiatrist no less, asked me if loved my autistic foster boys as much as my biological children. When I said, “absolutely!” he looked at me skeptically and said “there’s no way…it’s got to be different.” At that moment, two things happened, I lost a little respect for this guy and I KNEW deep into my soul that I loved you both with all my heart.
It’s a love that some people struggle to understand. Some look at us and say “Erik, what you do for those boys…you’re a saint!” I hate that. I’m no saint. Don’t put what we have up on some pedestal. It’s just farther for us to fall. I’m just being a Dad. A Dad loves his kids. Kids love their Dad. It really is that simple. Nothing saintly about it. Others just shake their heads and wonder why I would take on the stress and craziness that can come with parenting autistic boys. Again, they just don’t get it. Why WOULDN’T I? Sure, it gets crazy…but is wonderful too. Jeremy and his belly laughs and shares his secret smile. Julian with his hugs and giggle fits. These are the gifts that make it all worth it.
As much as people say I’ve done for you boys…you’ve done so much more for me. Every day you teach me. Every day you help me to grow even as I help you. When I look upon my success both personally and professionally, you two are very much at the heart of it. I’m the luckiest Dad ever.
Happy Valentines Day Jeremy and Julian.