12 Reasons This Special Needs Dad Deserves Recognition 365 Days a Year

Father’s Day is Sunday, and here I am, giving my husband, Dave, dad props — although he deserves them year-round. (Truth: I’m more likely to be found pestering him about taking out the garbage.) Dave is an amazing father to both our kids. But he deserves special recognition for all that he does for our son, Max.

1. Because he regularly caters to Max’s wants and needs, whether it’s taking him on a joy trip to Chicago or a fire station, picking him up at school to go to a doctor’s appointment or just sitting with Max in our minivan in the driveway as he pretends to drive. Oh, and he makes up fun songs, too — cue: “We’re going to Chicaaaaaaago! And we’re gonna have a gooooooood time!”

2. Because from the get-go, he has been a hands-on dad. Even as other friends’ husbands didn’t do diapers, Dave did — and joked about Max’s man-sized poops. He fed Max and still helps him at mealtimes. He gave him baths as a little kid and now, showers. There is nothing this guy won’t do to care for this boy.

3. Because he has always accepted Max for who he is, instead of who he dreamed he would be. During Max’s first year, as I mourned what had happened to him, Dave kept telling me to look at the beautiful child that he was — and reminded me of his potential.

4. Because he has extreme patience for easing Max into new situations, or just hanging with him when Max opts out of an activity.

5. Because he doesn’t sit around talking about how he wishes he could do “typical” Daddy-son things, like toss around a football or play baseball, because he and Max create their own “typical”: They play T-ball, enjoy amusement park rides, go to street fairs and make fart and burp jokes.

6. Because he never gets tired of the physical labor, whether it’s lifting Max into the car (boyfriend is getting heavy!) or carrying Max around the deep end of the pool.

7. Because when Max decides he needs to do something again and again — say, ride the shuttle bus at a resort where we are on vacation or push an empty stroller around the block — Dave will endlessly do it with him, unlike Mommy who will inevitably say, “One more time and we’re done!”

8. Because when Max gets freaked out by a crowd or loud noises, Dave knows just how to kiss and cuddle him calm.

9. Because for years, he’s stayed up late to program words, phrases and photos into Max’s electronic devices to enable him to communicate.

10. Because, better than anyone in our family, Dave understands the importance of hair gel and has taught Max how to swipe it into his hair.

11. Because he loves — genuinely loves — to take Max on food adventures, just the two of them.

12. Because Max has decided that the perfect Father’s Day celebration is a movie (“Inside Out”) followed by bowling and sushi with Daddy, and Dave is happy to oblige. As he always is.

A version of this post originally appeared on Love That Max.

More posts from Love That Max:
Special needs motherhood, pretty much summed up in GIFs
22 free things, services and grants for kids with special needs
The very real monster in the dark

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