Posts Tagged ‘autism’

Where has the time gone?

Posted: August 29, 2017 in Family, Humour
Tags: , , , ,


19 years ago I had a really nasty cold. It was a doozy. I mean, I know I have had worse colds before and since, but this one…..this one I will always remember. It’s the cold that almost prevented me from witnessing the birth of our youngest son, Mackie.

It was as you can expect a very long day. Anne had been in and out of the hospital for a week due to blood pressure issues, and the doctor just wasn’t taking any chances. So finally, just after 7 p.m. without the doctor actually getting there on time, Anne gave birth to Marc-AndrĂ© (whom we named after a family friend), a beautiful little bald-headed Buddha. I cried, I am not ashamed to say. A new brother for Alex. A bookend to our family.

And now it’s 19 years later. Seemingly overnight. Logically I am aware that 19 years of all kinds of experience has taken place through that time, but still….where has this time gone? He became ‘Mackie’ because his brother Alex had difficulty pronouncing his actual name. and it stuck.

I have been fortunate to be very close to my boys, as is Anne. That of course is a double-edged sword. It makes it harder to let them go. But I have no regrets. It truly has been the biggest honour and privilege to be the father to my two sons. It was something I dreamed of being since the age of 5. A dad.

through the years we have gone from burping and feeding, rocking, sitting on my lap, sitting beside me on my extra-wide chair to watch Barney, teletubbies, the Magic School but, Futurama, then more mature shows when our butts could no longer fit in the same chair. We spent countless friday and Saturday nights, up late because Anne and Alex were early birds, watching movies, playing ball, playing games, talking about EVERYTHING as Mackie is one of the most curious and knowledge seeking people I ever met. He kept me sharp as I had to be prepared for any subject. He is a Factoid as a result, and continues to accel in that regard. His brain is a sponge.

I got to watch him have friendships. This is not as easy at it sounds, having been brought up in a household where two out of four of the residents have Autism. His social game had to be honed practically alone. But what resulted was a person who had few but very solid friendships. He managed to do on his own what we just couldn’t teach him properly.

Towards the end of elementary school he made the transition Ecole Secondaire Algonquin in North Bay for the remainder of his pre-university education, driving daily with Anne who teaches there. This gave them 5 years of daily bonding, for which I am grateful. In many ways those two are very similar.

This move proved to be prophetic as Mackie thrived there. And although we didn’t know it, he had his eye on the prize quite early. He met and followed Elizabeth, now his girlfriend. He says he never considered another, and I believe him. Patiently he waited for his chance until, in grade 12, they started dating. They have been together ever since, not both in their second year at Nipissing university.

My little dreamer. My funny boy. My loveable son. My awesome brother for Alex. My excellent helper at work, my kid that made us finally get a dog (we have had 5!). My talented and intelligent and head-strong young man. He tries so hard. He works hard. He loves Elizabeth with a passion that makes me proud. My polite, considerate, socially conscious son is now 19. NINETEEN.

I feel a confluence of emotions about all this. At times I want to turn back the clock to that day i ha=d a bad cold and do it all over again. At times I am breathless with his progress and amazed and his lust for life. I miss him terribly each and every day as he now lives in North Bay, where he has opportunity and ease of access to school and work. Where he and Elizabeth live and dream and work and love. Where they have their own dog Bailey.

I could not be more proud of him. He has integrity and love and compassion and is there for us any time we ask. He supports his brother. We speak every day. which will have to do. He is working towards his degree in Computer Science, which I know will lead him to bigger and better things. Which will take him further away, no doubt. But it will have to do. He is doing what he loves, and we have to let him fly.

Oh Mackie, how I love you. How I wish you nothing but the very best. How I wish you could sit with me and watch shows in my red chair again. How I wish we could stay up late together on weekends and watch shows and talk and laugh. But I am so thankful for the memories we share and….that will have to do.

Happy birthday buddy.