Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Giving Thanks: Super Bumpa.

Scott and I are very blessed. Through all of the challenges we face, we know this, and we give thanks for these blessings every day. One of our biggest blessings is Scott's Dad, Dave. He is also commonly known in our house as "Bumpa". He got that nickname at Max's first daycare. When he would arrive to pick Max up at the end of every day, all of the kids would rush him and say "Max's Bumpa is here!!". Somehow the name stuck. He doesn't seem to mind. After all, there can only be one Bumpa.

I'm not sure where to start when it comes to all the things that Dave does for us. He retired right around the time I had Max. When I was on maternity leave he would come and pick me up to take Max and myself to doctor's appointments. When I went back to work he picked Max up from daycare every day so that Scott and I didn't have to rush home or stress out when we were sitting in traffic. He has changed his share of poopy diapers (for both Max and Cameron). And it was Dave who was first given the information that Max's first caregiver thought that Max was Autistic. Talk about a burden - this woman casually mentioned it to Dave as he picked Max up one afternoon. I'm sure he struggled with how to handle it. It would likely have been easier to just ignore it, push it down, and not mention it. But he didn't. He told us what she had said, and I'm sure that was incredibly painful for him. But it was the right thing to do, because it meant that we were able to get Max the help he needed from a very young age.

As Max's doctor's and therapy appointments increased, and the juggling of needing to be at X location at Y time began, Dave was there for us. He never made us feel as if he was doing us a favour, and was always happy to jump in. I'm sure there were days when he was relieved to go home. I'm sure there were times when he didn't feel like going above and beyond. But we never knew it. The bonus was and still is that Max and Cameron love their Bumpa more than tall tall buildings. He can do no wrong in their eyes. He comes with fresh energy, makes funny faces and sounds, and is always up for a good time. Even on the days when Max's behaviour is most challenging, he takes a deep breath and is more worried about how Scott and I are coping than his own stress. On the day that I got Max's official diagnosis, he asked me how the appointment went, and when I couldn't talk about it, he looked me in the eyes and said "it's okay, you don't have to say it". I know that he and Scott's mom went home and shed their own tears, but in that moment, he was my rock, and I will never forget that.

He has seen us at our rawest, on the days when we have nothing left to give. He has sent me up to my room to have a nap when he sees I am about to fall over. I am fairly certain that Scott has not mowed the lawn in over 2 years. I know I have not trimmed one hedge or pulled one weed. Yet our grass is cut, our weeds are pulled, our recycling boxes are brought in from the curb. We say thank you thank you thank you, but I can only hope he fully understands how much his love and support mean to us.

Max's Bumpa is one of his biggest champions. Dave loves his grandson with the ferocity of a papa bear. He sees the tiniest progress as a mile in a marathon. He has been a part of this journey from the beginning to the present, and he shares in our vision for Max's successful future. I know that there are days for him that are hard. That watching us implement some of the behaviour strategies we have to use is stressful, and hard to cope with. But he stands by us, works through the hard stuff, and is someone we lean on every day. He gives us his time, which is his most valuable asset, and he has also provided financial support while we wait for government funding for Max's therapy.

So many people with special needs children struggle in this journey without any help. They are not blessed with a Bumpa. And some family members may not be strong enough to travel a journey with so many ups and downs, beauty and devastation. We are blessed to have the love and support of Scott's dad, Dave. We can't possibly say it enough, so I'll say it once again: Thank you Bumpa.


  1. You are so blessed! Shane and I often talk about how lucky your family is to have the support that you do from Dave and Lorraine. Love that you posted your thanks for everyone to see. Yay Super Bumpa!

  2. i m so happy u have someone like this in your life. i can only imagine what his support must mean to u guys. Super Bumpa - title fits :)

  3. What a great post, and that's amazing that you have such a terrific father-in-law. Some days it's important to concentrate on what's good. Well written.

  4. This brought tears to my eyes. He is an amazing man.

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