The pictures represent what our hopes and dreams of children would be, our little tank of Guppy's and the crazy, mad, wonderful world of adventure that awaited us as we began our family.
A lifetime of mischief...mayhem...milestones...
But as life does sometimes - it brings you lessons you never wanted to learn.
It is the wise person, the wise father in this case, who has the choice to find the purpose in them where none can be found, or be defeated by them.
I know my own thoughts as a mother; but as I have watched Todd all these years as a father - seen his prayers - watched his tears - was amazed at his strength - I wondered if even in all that I could fathom what it truly felt like to be a father of two such opposite boys...
One who fearlessly ran toward the world at high speed...
One who lives in such need of protection from that very world...
How thankful I have been for Todd's strong arms of protection as time and time again he attempted to shield his son from the world that confused him, tried to hurt him, was painful for him, or that he simply did not want to be a part of as much as we have tried to include him in.
Where Brandon preferred to be the moon with its black & white serenity and simplicity....
That bright, shining star that brought such vivid color and complexity to our home.
It's hard to put into words what it must feel like for a Dad to be able to go on a vacation of a lifetime with one son; knowing the other son is home, unable to go to the places he longs to take him.
Todd spent many hundreds of dollars to sit on a wall for a week and watch as one son went through hell. Knowing he couldn't help him through it, he still wanted to be as close as he could to will him through it.
Countless more dollars spent than prayers answered...
Yet in that he has learned what typical fathers never will: the true humility and humbleness of living well, laughing often, and loving much. Living simply and being thankful & grateful for God's provision that provides for his family. Of being able to understand what being the hands and feet of Jesus means to another person.
Through it all Todd has been the father the father is no doubt so very proud of.
Todd has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with his sons.
The many good times with Matthew ---
Those times where he gets a glimpse of his son and not his autism.
Such bittersweet moments of anguish, care taking, and trying to teach basic life skills to his other son who was denied the ability to be on his own with his own family - and who will instead require a lifetime of care in our home.
I long to be able to put into words all that this day means to Todd.
How he has flown to such heights with one son while being grounded by the other. Such extremes of fatherhood...
Yet as I've watched him all those years I've seen how it has shaped him and hardened him. Not in the world's harshness, but as a believer who builds his faith, his convictions, his prayers, on a rock that cannot be moved.
He has been shaken, greatly.
But he has never fallen.
He will never quit.
And I think that is the greatest legacy he will leave the son who can understand it, and especially the son who never will.
While it may have been this son who made Todd a Father...
It was this son who has shown Todd who God the Father is...
His Grace, Mercy, Unconditional Love, Faithfulness -
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