Sunday, August 21, 2011
Danielle was 6 Dalton was 4. We had all been playing at the park that was near our house that beautiful spring day…we were tired and time to go home. To take a nap for a minute before starting to fix dinner. To early in the year for a swim , the pool still half full of the winter water , just waiting for me to clean it , but not today. Danielle had spotted a humming bird in the back yard and asked if she could go look for it ….sure …not worried the fence is 6 ft around the pool and there is a lock on the gate. I laid down, not sure for how long till I heard….” Daddy! Dalton is sinking!!” Instantly running for the pool, one hand grabbing for the top of the fence and with one swift motion like a gold metal athlete clearing the high jump….then landing flat on my back on the other side. I could see Dalton, still in diapers, his eyes wide open and his mouth just about to go under. My heart pounding I dove and got one hand under him and pushed him to safety with only a little cough and a huge thank you to god. Every one was OK…so I thought. After all the hugging and kissing and tearful I love you…..I noticed Danielle wasn’t saying anything. So I went to her picked her up and called her a hero, “you just saved you’re brothers life” if it wasn’t for you ...” Big hugs and for months after …I bragged to anyone who would listen , she has had to let her brother take almost all of our attention. Not that we don’t love her just as much, it’s that Dalton has autism. You probably wouldn’t know it at first glance. But after a full day with the behaviors that include, hyper activity, head banging (sibs) self injures behavior, so sever that he actual has developed a knuckle on his forehead and has put head completely through walls. Oh and the screaming, not sure I can put this into words the type of scream. I guess blood curdling; maybe gut wrenching, nails on chalk board. For hours at a time. How ever I’m trying to paint this picture for you it is no where near how difficult the was not only for Danielle but for us as parents. Lots of feeling helpless as you watches you’re beautiful baby boy, screaming like he is on fire while his bloodied head pounds against anything he can find. Of course you try to stop it but like I said this would go on for hour and the hours ran into days and the days …it’s all a blur anymore. Trying to find the answers …how to deal with this was daunting. A lot of nights all night on the computer reading anything I could get my hands on about the think called Autism.
Now you may get the severity and the ciaos we lived in. all our nerves were at a frazzle. It was about 6 months later when it was just me and Danielle and I could tell she wanted to say something. With her eyes looking at her shoes and her head held down.
This 6 year old little girl had the courage to say “Daddy, remember when Dalton fell in the pool?” yes I said, thanks to you….she stopped me and said ….” He didn’t fall in, I pushed him”. She had been walking around with this guilt for along time and could not take it anymore. I told her it still doesn’t change the fact the you saved his life. And that was the last we talked about it. Until now 6 Years later this poem speaks volumes if you know where its coming from …the pain she was dealing with by having a special needs brother and was at her breaking point. I know that feeling but I guess the times I would say “never ever, ever, ever, ever, give up like my dad would say to me when I was little. Maybe those words helped. Because Now just like then, are so proud that she is my daughter and that Dalton is my son. And I know there are great things for both of them in the future.