Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part LXIX: I Suck as a Dad

Copyright © 2013 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.

Watch this.  Just watch it.

Did you watch it all?  That’s Ricco VanArragorn (#2) helping Cory Stedman score a goal in a hockey game.  Cory, from what I could tell from searching around, was 12 years old when this video was shot and he has Down syndrome.  Here’s why I suck as a dad: Ricco does all the right things here with apparent patience and calm.  He doesn’t take the stick and assist Cory.  He does nudge him.  He just sets Cory up to succeed in his own time and making his own mistakes and gently correcting them.

I try to do this and I know I fail enough that it irks me.  I would like to sit with Ricco’s parents and find out everything they did to help raise a son who did this job so well and congratulate them.  I do celebrate on my successes with Alice, but I also spend a lot of time thinking back on when my resources ran dry – my patience, imagination, kindness – they all were scarce when I needed them.  At times like now, I feel like there is little middle ground: wild success or resounding failure.  Where’s the middle ground?

Still, we’re in the process of making some very hard decisions for the future and maybe that’s why I shouldn’t kick myself and should instead pat myself on the back for using planning, insight, and wisdom to help remove the big bumps in the path so that Alice will be able to walk down it and succeed in her own time.

Ricco – if you ever read this – you’re awesome.  Cory – nice goal.

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