Sunday, 27 April 2014

Guest blog: Being River's dad

I think it's been well over a year since I've posted on this blog. Just recently I have felt the desire to write again.

This week I took a photo of River on my phone in "mid flight." I could post a picture but I think if you imagine a blur across the screen, arms mid flail, hair flying in the wind, legs similar to the cartoon character road runner then you'd have a pretty good idea. The photo has no detail but is an accurate portrayal of River in his everyday life. 90% of his day is spend in motion, running, spinning, flapping, flailing and yelling..............and it's exhausting.

I didn't immediately fall in love with River when he was born. He was a big bruiser, who resembled Phil Mitchell and I found him intimidating. If I didn't witness with my own eyes River being pulled free from Gem I would've wondered if there had been a mix up. How could something so big, burly and hairy come out of somebody so petite?  When he first opened his eyes and looked at me I could almost feel him thinking, "Great, I've got a Dad who doesn't have a clue!"
I'm happy to say he did grow on me - over the next few days my heart melted and I knew that with such pride I was a Dad to a gorgeous little boy who resembled Phil Mitchell less and less. I also felt he started to cut me a little slack and thought, "yeah, he'll do."

River still melts my heart daily. He is the most beautiful little boy, sensitive, intelligent, inquisitive, joyous, interested, special and exhausting. He has energy in abundance, all day long, everyday. His interest in his subjects doesn't waiver, with constant questions then reaffirming again and again and again. His running, spinning, flapping etc makes me dizzy. He is so noisy, with his shouting and his stomping around, he knocks things flying all the time, rips books to pieces, pulls pictures and stickers off the walls, the 2 hour parties he has in the middle of the night and we're definitely not invited, and the routines are difficult, anything differing from his usual schedule throws him totally off kilter. Yesterday Gem wore my coat to go down the garden and it caused a major meltdown. Not having every part of a set of something is another big issue, we spend so much time searching around the house for a red car, the queen of spades or the letter "w" tile, everything grinds to a halt (baths, visiting, shopping, dinner, bedtime) until said set is complete again..............and I get frustrated. Frustrated that I keep repeating the same things, can't go out because we can't find the queen of spades, frustrated that we have to follow such strict routines, that a moment of not thinking could throw out a major part of the day and frustrated at myself for not having more patience for this little person in my life.

I've lost my patience in the past and to see River upset because I've been short with him is so tough. I said recently that I not only want teach River about the world but teach the world about River. But I am still no expert myself and still learning.

I guess tonight I wanted to put it out there that although I have endless love for my little man, it's still not easy. Some days I still struggle that River is autistic, that everything needs so much planning, that we don't do all the things other families do, that no one can predict how this will run. That maybe one day he might be independent, maybe he won't, maybe one day we won't be able to cope with River. How do you sit with that? I don't know.
Also that family and friends are so important. We don't always get back to everyone straight away but every message, every visit, every phone call is so important to us. More than you probably know.

I am ok and have so much to look forward and be grateful for. I know this. I am privileged to be River's Dad, I know this too. Sometimes I just think back to the first time he opened his eyes and think I hope he doesn't feel that way again.


  1. beautiful Tim, love your honesty. Its the best yet most challenging job in the world huh. Well done on this, and hope you may never lose that queen of spades.

  2. Tim, you express yourself so eloquently. Your obvious love and commitment to River in the face of his wonderful but exhausting uniqueness and your own human frailty melts my heart.
    I never fail to be amazed and humbled by yo, Gem and River. xxx

  3. Yo?? Sorry, went a bit Jesse Pinkman there!

  4. I may be repeating myself but River is so lucky to have such beautiful souls to nurture him. My love to all the family. Once again you humble me. xxx