Special dads with special sons

David Royko’s poignant Father’s Day post made me think of another loving father I know. Here’s my husband Mike Knezovich with a guest post, an honest and thoughtful tribute to special dads.

by Mike Knezovich

I was walking to a sandwich shop here in Chicago and was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a boy in a wheelchair and a man, presumably his dad, collecting themselves on the sidewalk. They had clearly just unloaded from the car parked nearby, and were readying for a walk.

It wasn’t the kind of wheelchair designed to be propelled by its user. It was, instead, focused on holding the boy—who clearly had substantial physical disabilities—in proper posture, with a headrest, and footrests arranged for that purpose, and with high handles to make it easy for someone else — in this case his dad — to push. Seeing it was a flashback to my own rituals of outings with our son Gus.

A visit with our son Gus at his group home.

A visit with our son Gus at his group home.

The father made a last round of adjustments to the boy’s ball cap, to his seatbelt, and then gathered himself to push his son on a walk.

For a moment, I wanted to walk up to him to say something like, well, I didn’t know what. That it’ll be all right? What the hell did I know about whether it would be all right? And as a frog the size of Alaska grew in my throat, I thought better of saying anything to him just then, because, well, a stranger walking up and breaking into tears might not lift up his day.

By the time I left the shop with my sandwiches, and I was more composed, the man and his son were long gone. For a tiny split-second I wished I’d gone ahead earlier and told him everything was going to be alright. But in the next split-second I realized, again, that I couldn’t, honestly.

Beth and I are better than alright. But it isn’t the all right either of us had in mind. And it was harder than hell to get to our version of all right. That’s what the father and his son on the Chicago street face. Even if they have great friends and family and resources, it’s going to be really hard.

And if I ever see that man and his son again, this time I know what I’ll say to him. I’ll tell him he’s not alone.


Comments may not reflect Easterseals' policies or positions.

  1. Terry Williamd Says:

    I understand it seems that his son has similar
    Disabilities like my son don’t want to go into
    Details right now but if someone wants to know
    I’ll be glad to share