|Faith, Precious and Angelus|
I want to take a moment to talk about my superhero.
When my wife Amy told me she was pregnant, back in March of '03, I was shellshocked for...well...quite a while. Shellshocked enough that I lost a $230 fuel purchase at my job. Shocked enough that I barely spoke for at least a week.
I didn't want kids. Amy had seven doctors tell her she couldn't get pregnant. Heck, we had basically started planning out our lives together, just the two of us. Frankly, I saw an upside to it.
Let me reiterate: I did not want kids. I had never wanted kids. I had an ex-girlfriend who tried desperately to get me to get her pregnant, which always sounded like the worst idea ever to me, for a few reasons.
I was in stages of denial all through the pregnancy. I was convinced that my life was basically finished...in my early 20s...because I wasn't just married now, I was going to be a dad.
This continued, literally, right up until the moment my son was born. When Angelus was being born, he had gotten flipped around...he was coming out face up instead of face down. It got a little hairy, because he got stuck in the birth canal...but when he finally came out, facing up, I was staring into the biggest, brightest eyes I have ever seen on a human being in my life. I was the first thing my son saw.
The nurses rushed him onto oxygen, because during his time caught in the birth canal, it had apparently interfered with his breathing. I was aging about twenty years, right there on the spot. Right there, in that moment, my whole way of thinking had been radically altered and I was going to have a very, very hard time with God if my son got taken away from me when I had just met him.
Since then, every day of his perfect, precious life has been a learning experience for me. It's really been pretty cool, too...as Angelus has turned out a lot like me so far, for better or for worse. He loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, super heroes (Marvel and DC), Star Wars, and lately he's becoming a big wrestling fan...preferring John Cena, Kid Muscle and The Greatest American Bolo over most others. He is so routinely amazing that it starts to become easy to forget just how amazing he is, honestly.
Well, I have had a couple of occasions recently to be reminded just what an astonishing angel we were given.
In the above picture there, you will see my son with his little sister Faith and their dog Precious (I wanted to name her Doggy Bolo), playing in our yard this past spring. Just a couple of months or so after this, Precious gave birth to six puppies...five of which died over the course of a couple of days. The sixth one held on for a few months, and I accidentally injured it one morning when it came underfoot at just the wrong moment. A few weeks later, after seeming to be on the road to recovery, I found it dead on our porch.
I buried the puppy alongside its siblings and later that morning sent Angelus off to school. I spent all day trying to prepare myself for telling him that the puppy had died...and not knowing how he would take it.
I finally sat him down, told him the news, and his reply was "Wow...that is a really sad story." But it was okay, he explained, because now she was with the rest of her siblings. He was sad...but he dealt with it, frankly, better than I could have at that age.
His sister Faith was recently diagnosed with Autism, with a Global Developmental Delay. She is three to Angelus' six. As long as she has been alive, Angelus has been a doting big brother. He stays concerned about where she's at or what she's doing. He (usually) doesn't go out of his way to cram himself into her space...but he makes it his business to know what is going on with her. In fact, when he was younger, he would often introduce himself as "Gelus" (Jealous), because his enunciation wasn't clear enough to get all three syllables...and this was especially notable when Faith was born and he would tell people "I'm 'Gelus!" and they would say "Oh, I'm sure your parents love you just the same", and Angelus looked at them like they were crazy...because I don't think he has a jealous bone in his body.
Anyway...as I noted above...Faith is autistic...specifically, she does not speak and barely communicates at all, verbally or non. Nine times out of ten, she will utterly ignore other children, whether they are trying to play with her or not, and this includes Angelus, no matter what he tries to do to reach her...and yet, he never stops trying, and he never takes her refusal to even acknowledge him personally...he just keeps on trying, because he knows how important it is.
Under any circumstances, he would have been an amazing big brother...I am just blown away at seeing him now, and just how kind and considerate he is...and I felt the urge to share that.
My wife's blog, Faith in Angels, is all about our journey with these two crazy, gorgeous kids, specifically as we embark on getting Faith the therapy that will hopefully allow her to communicate with us someday.
Anyway, as I noted above: Remember how I said I never wanted kids...not even for a minute?
Yeah...best thing that ever happened to me.