When I first became pregnant with our son, I’m pretty sure Michael blew a head gasket. Not for reasons like, he didn’t feel stable enough or that he didn’t think that I was the one with whom he’d love to have a family. But because of deep-rooted emotions, he was certain that he simply did not know how to be a good father. And yet, he refused to fail his son. I remember him going out of his way to keep me comfortable and at the same time being completely awkward when it came to Aedan. Every time his little baby cried in his arms or preferred me over him, I saw a look that I had never seen before in Michael. For a man that always succeeded, this devastated him and brought back all the painful memories that shook him to the core. In a very humbling way, I saw his weakness, open wounds, and fear.
Sixteen months into his son’s life- just as Aedan began really walking and interacting- Michael was given his first dose of Levaquin coupled with a steroid pack. A routine sleep apnea surgery followed soon after and then the prescription for Avelox. October 6, 2008 is the day none of us will forget. On that day, he started feeling numbness and tingling in his legs. For a new father who was finally feeling more at ease, this ripped the ground right out from underneath him.
Still, I have never seen a man so determined to raise his son with such joy, peace and safety. Aedan never came with us to the emergency rooms. He didn’t see the tears or feel the full impact of the stress. In those darkest moments when all Michael could do was sit in an armchair barely able to speak or move his arms, Michael went so far as to “hide out” in the back room because he was so adamant about not having Aedan see his daddy like that.
It was like a scene out of the movie “Life Is Beautiful”. Out of all the darkness that was around us, we surrounded that boy with a stable, loving, and playful house. Now 4yrs old, Aedan remembers the wheelchair. We would give him rides around the house on daddy’s lap. He knows about medicines and how daddy needs to rest sometimes. More importantly, he knows daddy has the best tickles, always knows the coolest music, and is brave and strong.
Michael always says he is giving his son front row seats to watch a good man live his life.
When it comes to being a father, I am proud to know that Aedan learns about bravery and strength and perseverance from this man who transcends suffering to live for something that pain cannot touch or take away- the loving eyes of his son