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Wish for a Father's Day Hug
Wish for a Father's Day Hug

I recently attended a seminar for families of children with Down syndrome. The keynote speaker, a prominent doctor and great advocate for the Down syndrome community, told of a study done in England involving mothers of children with Down syndrome and how the news of their child's diagnosis was delivered to them. The speaker told of how the researchers decided to return to those mothers one year after their initial interviews and again ask them to recount their story. To their surprise, every single mother was able to repeat with the same great detail and emotion as they had just after the news was originally delivered to them. As I listened to the speaker, I sat in a row of mothers nodding my head and choking back tears. Obviously, dads weren't asked to participate in that research. Had those researchers thought to ask, to this day I could tell them with great detail and emotion how my wife and I received the news of our then unborn baby girl even though that was some five years ago now. I hadn't thought about it much the day of that seminar or since, but the fact that the researchers focused only on the mother's reaction is perhaps indicative of the lives that I, and I suspect many dads of children with Down syndrome, lead: although the impact on our lives is every bit as great, I believe dads are sometimes treated with less concern as far as the influence that diagnosis is suspected to have had on us over that of our partner. And, though we're usually every bit as involved in the lives of our child, our role is often perceived as secondary. However, all that really matters little because where it counts most, in the eyes of my little girl, my role is in no way diminished over that of her Mother's. I have been so completely privileged to bond with my daughter in this journey in ways I may never have been afforded had circumstances been any different. As for my daughter, I can tell you that, like some woman have a pair of shoes for every imaginable occasion, she has a hug. There's the "welcome home from work" hug; the "goodnight" hug; the "you seem to need this but it better not disturb my favorite television show" hug. Then, there's my least favorite of all hugs: the "please get me out of this doctor's office" hug with its vice-like grip. A hug which is only made better by the "thank God it's over" hug; the "I'm so glad to see our car" hug; and the "I love my home" hug. So, for Father's Day all I'm really looking forward to is a special hug from my daughter. I wish the same for all the other dads out there more than any research or equity in the perception of our roles as caregivers to the lovable children we've been entrusted to.

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Chris Lindner, United States, MI
5/27/2011 11:57:37 AM
Great job!

philip Kim, United States, MI
5/31/2011 4:18:52 PM
couldn't agree more. thanks for sharing.

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