About Tom

I married my wife Robin not very long after high school.  We were like every other pair of 19-year-olds…..ready to grow up without much clue on how to do it.  But overall we were pretty well-meaning kids from solid families so we were eager to make a go of it.

Just over a year later we found out that Tyler would be entering our little world.  We were so excited to do all of the great baby things like making a nursery, planning a shower, and dreaming of what lies ahead.  Then, in one moment, it all changed.  That moment where you hear that something has gone wrong.  I will never forget leaving that appointment in November of 1991 feeling as though the world had crumbled beneath us.  At that very moment we knew our lives would be forever changed.

From the first moment I was blessed enough to meet Tyler I loved him beyond what I could possibly describe.  I would spend 23 years as not just his father, but at times like a big brother, at times like a guard dog protecting him, and at times his greatest friend.  We had such a close bond that we could tell what the other was thinking without the need for a single word.  I had become so adept at anticipating his thoughts and movements that it had become a science.  This would always prove to be both a blessing and a curse.

As the years continued on, our daughter Samantha was born.  And then came a brief relocation to another state, followed by relocating back home again.  All the while, the science of caring for Tyler had to be the top priority.  I had often described my world as “spinning plates”; paying the bills was a plate, marriage another, Samantha another, maintaining the house another, and of course Tyler another.  If one plate fell they would all fall, which was an incredible amount of pressure. 

In the end, Tyler needed to be in a situation that provided him more structured and professional care, along with a secure future.  But he wasn’t the only one that needed a life change, I needed to become a better husband to Robin and a better father to Samantha.  So one day, while our case worker was making a visit, I opened my mouth and choked out the words “What do we do now?”.  And here we are today, and now I have adopted yet another role, Tyler’s guardian.

This blog is intended to provide a voice to caregivers, especially those with special needs children.  To be fair, I am not a therapist, or an expert on special needs, nor would I intend to pretend to be.  My goal is to share all of the triumphs and heartbreaks that we have been through, especially during this transition into Tyler’s residential placement.  Because there is no “manual” for caregivers to follow, we must help each other find the way.  My hope is that through my advice, stories, and experiences that the reader can find nuggets to add to their own journey.  Perhaps it can be in the form of finding things that we all relate to.  Perhaps it will be seeing something on paper and thinking “I’ve always wanted to say that but could never find the courage”.  Or perhaps it will be something the reader disagrees with and it further galvanizes their own point of view.  All of these scenarios are healthy! 

My Walk With Tyler is about the entire journey.  There will be entries that will be lighthearted, some sad, and most will convey an opinion of some sort.  One thing I promise that it will be is unafraid.  I believe that we can only change by being truly honest with ourselves and seeing the landscape as it really is. 

Feel free to walk along with us as you read on.  Hopefully it will help to make your steps a little easier.

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