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Unlike His Father

Happy Father's Day TypewriterBy Cathy Jameson

To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.   - Pope John Paul II

When we learned that our 2nd born child would be a boy, both my husband and I began to imagine what ‘life with boys’ would be like.  Our first child, who was quite the girly girl at the time, was all about frilly dresses, dainty dolls, and the color pink.  The idea of adding another blessing to the family, and knowing that that blessing would be a boy, filled us with great excitement.  We imagined our future would include little blue outfits, Tonka trucks, and scraped knees.  We imagined rough and tumble play and making mud pies in the backyard.  We imagined we’d one day be sitting on the sidelines at a sporting event cheering him on.  We imagined all sorts of typical-boy milestones and super star achievements.  Never could we have imagined how far from typical our son would actually be. 

Our pride and joy, Ronan still is a super star.  He excels in areas that other kids have, but they’ve long surpassed the few capabilities he’s worked years to attain.  Dressing himself.  Feeding himself.  Entertaining himself.  It’s taken much, much longer for him to learn about the skill, to want to address the skill, and then to actually master the skill. 

Small steps and sometimes even smaller baby steps have gotten Ronan to where he is today.  While we’d both love for him to be able to catch up to where his siblings and age-mates are developmentally, we know that for Ronan to accomplish things, it has to be at his pace.  That can be hard. 

As many years into this journey that we are, the realization that Ronan is still so far behind can make us emotional.  We know that Ronan won’t follow in his father’s footsteps and tinker with cars or motorcycles.

CJ Father 1

He also won’t race 12 meter sailboats like his father did. 

CJ father 2

He won’t be able to join the military like Daddy did either.   

Cj father 3

Right now, Ronan won’t jump out of perfectly good airplanes, climb mountains just because they’re there, or go on outdoor adventures like my husband has done most of his adult life.  Ronan’s unable to do quite a few things that Daddy’s done or that other people, like his siblings, will grow up and get to do. 

We’d love nothing more than for Ronan to be able to join his siblings on wherever life leads them.  But at the way things are going, Ronan’s likely going to remain our dependent for many years to come.  While we mourn the loss of some of what we expected Ronan’s and our own futures to be like, we do live for moments that bring joy to the life that we are living.    

Instead of working under the hood of a car, Ronan enjoys rides with his Daddy on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Cj father 4

Instead of participating in high school varsity sports like Daddy did, he gets assistance and plays a sport that’s right up his alley. 

Cj father 5

We don’t want Ronan to miss out on some of the outdoor fun that Daddy still likes to do and create opportunities for Ronan to be right there with him.  He may not the adventurous soul that his father is, but Ronan gladly takes his Daddy’s hand and follows him wherever he goes.

Cj father 6

And when life gets too complicated and when medical issues arise, Ronan falls into the arms of that Dad of his and doesn’t let go. 

Cj father 7

Hand in hand, they find strength to get through scary procedures and the unknown together. 

Cj father 8

Complications do knock Ronan down.  They knock us down, too.  Where other children stay busy with friends, with afterschool activities and with hobbies, Ronan’s time is spent in medical facilities and therapy centers.  We’re grateful for the care, and when he’s restored, Ronan gets back up. 

That’s when he and Daddy get back on the trail. 

Cj father 9

And if his energy gets zapped again or after seizures have taken their toll, Ronan will get another lift from Daddy.    Cj father 10

Because that’s what Daddies do.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.  


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Happy Father's Day to Ronan's dad. Thank you for being the strong, loving man who stands by his strong-willed wounded boy and sacrificially supports his wife and family. You are showing Ronan how to be a true man!

Jeannette Bishop

A beautiful father & son tribute! Happy Father's Day!


Beautiful Cathy. Happy Father's Day to your husband and all the amazing autism dads!


happy father's day !

Offering a strong shoulder to collapse in, a quiet walk through the woods, or being the only person who understands are the best gifts I received on father's day. It's about love. My son will never be a state champ swimmer but he is my champion. Thank you for writing this beautiful article.


Love this.

Maria Milik

Happy Father's Day to Ronan's dad! Your family is such an inspiration for so many people. Many prayers and much love to the whole family - today and for whatever the future may hold. <3

go Trump

Well done, great pictures Cathy. Thank you.

Prayers on this day for the Bradstreet family.
Those of us who are still here will carry on for the next hundred years.

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