So, I'm sick!
Not just sick.
I am diseased!
I have a genetic disease classified as one of the cerebellar ataxia's. I don't talk too much about it here because I don't like to make a big deal out of it. Like everyone, I have better days and worse days.
On a good day I can almost do anything I would like to, just slower than I want to. On a bad day I can't even make a sandwich for the brats and Mama Bear has to use a sick day at work.
That's a total bummer, but it is what it is, and it's not likely to ever change. It's a play the hand you're dealt kind of thing.
Yes, it is super frustrating!
Yes, it makes me feel like the worlds' worst dad because there are so many times I can't take care of the brats the way I want to.
Yes, I feel like a burden. I feel ashamed of my weaknesses, and I constantly worry that my boys are going to grow up resenting me because their dad is always going to be the sick dad, and I don't want anyone to see me as that, especially my kids.
So, I force myself to compensate for my shortcomings. I play with the brats rambunctiously, I run around like a crazed lunatic laughing and shouting just like them, and it's all in an effort to keep my illness from them as long as possible.
No, it's not a secret!
They know I walk with a cane, but they don't think anything of it because I try so hard to make nothing of it and to be as active a father I can be. That, and they are still young.
I get asked all the time, "Don't you just wish you could wake up one morning and be healthy?"
Yes, I kind of do, but I have to acknowledge that I wouldn't be the dad and person I am today with out my disease.
As much as I feel like I am a terrible dad because of all the times I can't physically do things with my kids, I think that I am a pretty good dad too because my perspective is different than it otherwise might have been.
Does that make sense?
Let me explain it this way.
I honestly believe that all the years of shame and humiliation I faced as a kid because of my piss poor genetics was really a good thing for me. I know that at the time I felt much different about it, but now, as an adult, I look back and see it all as it really was, preparation.
I learned at a young age to take advantage of my good days. I had to improvise and adapt because I was determined to not let my ataxia stop me from doing anything any one else could do. There is nothing I hate more than limitations, so I always pushed my self hard to over come them. I learned what it was to be sick and different. Therefore, I tried extra hard to be more accepting and compassionate and sympathetic. I learned a certain degree of patience because of all the hours I spent motionless, unable to move because my body really wanted me to stay in the position it was in. Most of all, I learned to cherish and truly appreciate those I love and care about and to not take them for granted because I often felt abandoned.
These are all life skills I had to develop because of my disease, and I still practice them everyday because they still need honing. I'm probably a better dad because of it, and I hope these are skills I can teach my kids. They don't need some disease as a mentor.