Not long ago was the 8th anniversary of “On Dad’s Watch.” After a lot of soul searching, I’ve decided to come clean with my readers…I have no family and these stories are written under heavy sedation from an insane asylum…FOOLED YA!
I’m joking of course, however at times, given the rambunctious tendencies of our children, especially in the early years, a home for the mentally traumatized seemed like a comforting option. Joking aside, it truly is time to disclose a matter, which has brought no small amount of challenge and the greatest of love to our family. Our son Michael has Tourette’s. For those of you not familiar with the affliction, it’s a psycho-neurological condition that causes varying degrees of tics and outbursts of defiance. In his case, he’s somewhat mild on the former and loaded up on the latter. Medically speaking, HE CAN BE A ROYAL, RELENTLESS PAIN IN THE A**!!! That was a rant of love of course. Put yet another way, it’s a condition that likely would have gotten him plenty of wallops from well meaning but sterner parents had he been born a generation or two earlier.
I hinted at the issue in “The Riverdancer’s Secret.” That’s the name given by Lisa to his lovable hop, skip and jump tic that he relies on every day for some yet to be discovered reason. Also, if you found yourself saying, “God, why do they put up with those shenanigans”, you now have the answer.
We learned about his condition when he was eight years old. “On Dad’s Watch” began a couple of years prior. I’d been looking for a way to cope with his intractability and writing certainly helped until we found out the reason for his behavior. Had Lisa chosen the pen as an outlet, given her daily battles to educate, civilize and otherwise save our son, she’d have written “War and Peace” many times over.
It’s important that I mention a young lady, who by any measure of loyalty and love would perennially be crowned “sister of the year.” Dominique is and always will be devoted to her brother. We couldn’t be more proud of her for growing up way earlier than called for.
The real hero of the story, however, is Mikey. It’s only in recent years that we realized what challenges ANYONE would face when consumed by a disease that basically causes even those who love you, to dislike you! I’d be lying if I said the personal guilt I felt upon coming to that realization was unbearable. Hey let’s face it, he was driving us CRAZY!! There indeed was a lot of guilt, but it was quickly and overwhelmingly consumed by the pride that accompanied it. Like a thunderbolt I was hit with the vision of a child fighting and screaming from behind a wall that was hiding him from parents who could not see him. But he knocked it down and continues to do so with every challenge he so willingly faces and every goal he so steadfastly reaches. He’s a bundle of joy and a hurricane of havoc.
So there you have it! Full disclosure. It helps our family to share and for that I thank you all for listening. It would also be gratifying to believe that other families with similar circumstances may benefit in a small way from this story.
Ooops it’s time for my sedatives…just kidding. See ya next time!