I want to take a moment to welcome some new readers. I have noticed comments on various posts, some rather old, and have received some emails. Unfortunately, your email addresses did not come through if you sent me a message via my contact page, so I could not respond (that has been fixed). And speaking of which, thanks a lot Allison, I’ll never be able to watch an episode of I Love Lucy again! So, welcome to all.
How much are we defined by our children? Understand, I have never had a normal kid, so I have no idea what “normal” is in reference to a family, from a parental point of view.
Who am I?
There was a time in my life when my signature was on several thousand CPR cards. That defined me. There was the time that the entire student body of the College of Engineering in the big city university voted me Professor of the Year. That defined me. There was the time when I was seconds from blowing some guy’s head off during this thing with lots of bad guys and not enough cops and an OT got called (“officer in trouble”) and five police forces responded and, well, that defined me for a while. There was a long time that I was defined, within my profession, by a white paper that I wrote that every design and debug engineer read, or so it seemed when I was repeatedly stopped at trade shows and conferences and told “wow, I read your paper, it is fantastic!” That defined me.
Then, about 18 1/2 years ago the definition shifted. Pearlsky was born. I brought my business into the house. Pearlsky’s mother continued to work outside the house, I did most of the childcare. Then David was born. Now I was caring for two severely messed up kids. Business people needed to know since it is difficult to hide the sounds of such a household. Some unexplained sudden absences and missed calls and meetings gave away the fact that at times a three day (or longer) stay at the hospital just happens. Even though I knew more about my niche of the market then just about anyone, even though the likes of Motorola and IBM had me help design a key piece of their best computer chips, I was more likely defined as the poor schmuck with two disabled kids. But did they define me or did I define me?
My house happens to be a ranch style house (all on one level). That is great having two kids in wheelchairs, but the house was purchased before children. There is a handmade redwood ramp. It is very nice, but alas, it is a ramp. For wheelchairs. Parked next to it is the modified minivan. With handicap sticker. When you walk into the house, you actually enter into the living room. On your right is a very small kitchen with medications, Pediasure, and the like filling it. We have two kitchens actually, Pearlsky’s and the regular one. In full view in the far corner of the living room is her blue table and lift. The bathroom has a large walk in shower, no walls, no hindrances. There’s a shower seat in the bathroom.
Am I defined by Pearlsky?
For those of you that don’t know, I have a blog. Yeah. And my nom de plume is “Single Dad.” That kind of defines me, but the blog’s URL is … DisabledDaughter.com Talk about defining! I am single, I am a dad, and she is disabled. That’s me.
Would I be Single Dad if, in fact, I run away to Mt. Olympus with a goddess? Well, I’d still have Pearlsky and still write about her, so I guess so. Will I be Single Dad if Pearlsky lives elsewhere when she turns 22?
Pearlsky (and, I say with great sadness, to a much lesser degree, David) is a major force in my life. Does my life revolve around her? More than I would admit.
I am in the midst of a major contract with a major company to do a major marketing thing. It will be a ton of fun, some travel, I am actually working on my carnival talker (aka barker) persona, yet, through it all, I am still Single Dad, no? Pearlsky’s dad.
I am the one that feeds her. Wipes her ass. Puts her in bed. Gets her ready for school. Buys her clothes. Makes her medicines. Worries. Advocates, voraciously.
Is it bad that our lives revolve around our children? If she was normal, I cannot imagine it would be like this, but I don’t know. Do I cause my own definition to be defined by Pearlsky? Will I ever be anything else? Does it even matter?