• Kelly Priest

Here's To The Dads

[This was originally written for Father’s Day a few years ago, to my husband. But feel free to substitute “Moms,” “Parents,” “Grandparents,” or anyone else who takes on any or all of the joy and work of raising a child who needs more support than the average bear.]




Here’s to the cerebral dads, who read jargony books about ADHD, autism, sensory integration, anxiety, or giftedness.


Here’s to the dedicated dads, who take the kid to occupational therapy. Even though no one can explain what occupational therapy is.


To the fun dads, who provide extra proprioceptive input by pretending to be a humpback whale, breaching magnificently from behind the edge of the bed and then squooshing the delighted kids with a very realistic, “Whhhaaauuunnnhhh!”


To the focused dads, who silence their phones and listen to the speech therapist, teacher, social specialist, developmental pediatrician, educational therapist, or psychologist talk about trying a different perspective or strategy.


To the tenacious dads, who ask the professionals the next week, “Tell me again what you were saying last week?”


To the dads who are wise stewards of family finances but also wise investors in their children’s potential.


The grateful dads, who know they are lucky to have a partner to work with to help their cub reach their potential.


The insistent dads, who make dates that involve nonrefundable tickets and getting dressed up and refuse to take, “But I’m so exhausted” for an answer.


The insightful dads, who recognize a few of the kid’s traits in themselves and use their self-knowledge to help the family set a healthy course.


And finally, here’s to the affirming, hopeful, understanding, and loving dads, who can enjoy being in the moment on the kid’s terms. Playing a video game. Running an errand together. Listening to a child’s TED talk about dinosaurs or horses or movie release dates. Leaving the bright, noisy baseball game 20 minutes in, saying convincingly, “It’s cool, I was about ready to go get us some ice cream anyway.”


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