A Letter to My Daddy – To the World I’m Special Needs But to You, I’m Just Special

Emily Sutton by Emily Sutton Additional Needs

Emily Sutton

Emily Sutton

I was launched into the world of special needs on New Year's Eve 2012, on the birth of my son, Jenson. He is fabulous, sprightly and loving, and ha...

Dear Daddy,

You knew from the moment I was born that I was different, but instead of letting it freak you out, you embraced it and you nurtured me.

You thought I was nothing less than perfect even from the first day when all the doctors were looking at my imperfections.

Every morning when I wake up it’s you that comes to get me.

You cuddle me in close with your big, strong arms and scuff my face with your scratchy beard.

I know you are desperately tired and need to get ready for work, but you play wrestling with me on the bed and Daddy, I know that you let me win.

You are my best playmate, and my best friend.

I know you are waiting patiently until the day that I can kick a football, and ride a skateboard.

I know it breaks your heart that I might never be able to do these things, even though you won’t admit it.

But thank you for loving me just the way I am.

You tell me you love me and call me, ‘mate’.

I love you too and you are the best mate any little boy could ask for.

You say I’m, ‘epic’, to all your friends and you show me off to everyone.

You aren’t embarrassed if I shout for attention or if I throw cake.

Thank you Daddy, for making Mummy happy, because when Mummy is happy then I am happy.

When you cuddle and kiss her, her face lights up, even when she shrugs you away to get on with the cooking.

Thank you for coming to get me when I wake up at 5:30am on Saturday mornings and letting Mum stay in bed.

She gets so worn down during the week even though she doesn’t do as much work as you, I am quite a big job and she works hard!

I am so glad that you get to the gym and football practice, even though your heart is telling you to come straight home from work.

I love that you have big strong arms for lifting me and I love hearing about all the goals that you score.

Thank you for all the presents you buy me even though some of them are really for you, like all the different models of planes and cars.

One day I will learn all their names and make you very proud.

Thank you for taking me to the park even though you have to carry me up the slide and catch me at the bottom.

And you have to hold onto me on the see-saw and roundabout even when all the other kids are doing it themselves.

And you don’t mind the other kids pointing and the mummies staring.

Thank you for my huge collection of vehicles that I can drive around the house and garden, and for understanding how much better it makes my life to have a bit of independent mobility.

I love it when you chase me and it makes me go faster!

Thank you for carrying my tractor, even though it’s the heaviest of them all, down to the park so that I can ride outdoors.

Sorry about all the times I go the opposite direction to where you’re heading, I just get so excited with the steering wheel!

Thank you for letting Mummy go out with her friends every now and then and for going easy on her the next day when her head hurts a bit.

Sometimes Mum needs to put all our troubles to one side and drink mummy juice with her friends.

Thank you for telling Mummy she’s beautiful even though she has a few more frown lines since I came along.

I know how hard life is for her and sometimes she gets a bit overwhelmed and emotional.

You are the strong one and you always make everything OK.

Thank you for using up your last scraps of energy at the end of the day rubbing Mummy's shoulders and listening to her moan.

For reassuring her that the bad days aren’t so bad, and reminding her of all the great stuff to be excited about.

Thank you for being there for her while I am such a burden.

The best part of the day for me is night-time when we settle down on the bed and you read me a story. I love your silly voices and our snuggles.

Mum gives great kisses and cuddles but there’s nothing quite like my Daddy’s snuggles to send me into a cosy happy sleep.

I know you have to work lots, and although I don’t really understand what, ‘work’, is, I know it is important and you are doing it for us.

I know you’d rather be at home and that every extra minute you’re not with us tugs on your heart.

I understand that decisions that would once have been easy, are now so very difficult, because you are constantly bearing the guilt of the sacrifices you have to make.

I know you will always do the right thing, and thank you for worrying about me and taking me into account every step of the way.

I know you worry about the future and who will look after me.

I know you worry about bringing another child into our family and how this might impact on me.

Daddy, don’t worry, I will be fine.

Our weekends are precious and you go to so much effort to cram in lots of fun stuff for us to do.

And although I love family outings, I know how hard it is for you and Mum because I can’t walk and can’t adapt to the outside world like the other kids.

Thank you for trying.

Thank you for letting your excitement override your anxiety about the possible outcomes that each day out may involve.

Thank you for the numerous two minute trips carrying me up to the top of the soft play and the two second journeys back down my favourite bumpy slide, which you repeat over and over again without hesitation, because you just love the sound of my laughter.

Thank you for helping me climb into the ball pit and back out 30 seconds later when it is freaking me out.

Thank you for breaking the rules and sneaking into the, ‘Kids Only’, zone because I can’t do it on my own like the others.

I know you pretend not to notice the looks and comments from people around us, but it’s ok to get protective.

And Dad, about our weekends, it’s OK if we don’t go out! In fact, my favourite thing is to go and play with man stuff in the shed with you.

I like fixing things and breaking things and spinning the wheels on things.

It’s not about what we do and where we go, it’s all about being with you and spending time together.

No one else quite gets me like you do.

Thank you for sometimes, ‘forgetting’, about the physio, the back brace and the signing practice, because sometimes, the best therapy is just playing with my Daddy.

Even though I spend most of my time with Mummy, you are still half of my world.

Thank you for understanding me like no one else, and for accepting me even though I am like no one else.

I love you.

Jenson Jack (2 ¾)


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