It is hard to believe that I have been a dad for eight years. Eli’s Birthday is tomorrow and I sit back and absorb everything I have learned and experienced. When Eli was first diagnosed I was in denial. He was so young, and so bright and acted in a normal manner. I never saw the signs, neither did his mother.
So when the school said he was showing signs of a developmental delay my first words were that is crazy. Then it dawned on me, he did seem to be a bit slower than he should be at doing things like walking and talking, using a fork or spoon. But it was hard, because as a
dad parent you always think your child is perfect. Eli was perfect, just not developing at the same speed as the other kids his age.
Now eight years later Eli still has issues. He is emotional, hard on himself, still stims a bit but has shown remarkable intelligence and cognitive thought. He has a photographic memory and literally memorizes and remembers everything you ever said, and anything you ever did. If you make him a promise, you better keep it because five years from now he will remind you that you broke it.
I have said this a million times, I would never want Eli any other way. He is such a funny, unique and well mannered boy. It wasn’t until we had Zachary that we realized how different and unique Eli was. Where Zach is the typical boy, Eli is not. Zach wants to be crashing cars, climbing trees, hitting baseballs, and Eli wants to be reading books, playing computer games and surfing the web.
We still have plenty of work to do with Eli. It gets harder and harder to convince the school system that he needs help. As the school work gets harder this will become more and more of an issue. We have to remind ourselves that he is different, not because we want a classification to label him for the rest of his life, but because we want his life to not be marred by his inability to understand and react to situations in a fluid manner like most kids. He needs structure, a schedule and reminders.
The great thing is that he is a smart, handsome boy with a great attitude and mental fortitude. He will go far in his life and I have no doubt about that. I just want him to enjoy more of his youth and be a kid. Run and play with the other kids, laugh and be outdoors. I want him to be happy. Speaking of that, Happy Birthday little man.