Don’t stop walking
I see you
I hope you can know
That I felt your daddy’s heartache
As he led you firmly by the hand
Walking nondescript down the lane
Hoping no one sees you two
Hoping if not to end
Then to at least fade
Out of sight
Out of mind
From prying eyes and furtive stares
You looked miserable in your cute PJs
As though you were dragged out of bed
Tho it’s already near mid-day
Your bow-legged wobbly six-year-old knees
Threatening to give way
Should your daddy so much as loosen his grip
You might just puddle in a huddle
In a heap
On these rain-washed
Park connector tracks.
But he won’t
No he won’t.
How do I know?
Cos I’m a special dad too
My son might be older than you
But there was a time I wasn’t sure
A time he could barely climb up
The playground slide
While kids half his age
Went whisking by.
Even now he’s not always sure
Nor am I
Even now he needs that gentle prod
Just to say “you got this, my guy”
Before he dares put one hand over another
One foot up from the other
Every step an Olympic achievement
Worthy of a standing ovation
Cos it’s about celebrating the small wins
When it comes to special need kins.
But enough about us
It’s you I’m writing this for
Tho I don’t know you and your dad
I pray and ask for more
Compassion and understanding
For myself, my kid but most certainly for you
And especially your daddy big heart
Who’s more alone than he cares to
It’s what sets him (and me) apart
From the rest of dad-dom.
I get it
I’m still there in plenty of ways
The look of cloudy on your daddy’s face
I have that too on oh so many days
As I die to my hopes and dreams each time
Cut down inch by inch
Like an Amazon rainforest tree.
Expectations for my boy sliced down
Until there’s nothing left.
But the love I have
For my son.
Love that I hope will
For I know.
Your dad feels the same way too.