Any man can be a father, but it takes someone truly special to be a dad.

A dad extends his hands, time and heart to love the child through anything.

The bond between my husband, Josh and my autistic adult son, Skyler is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Many people jokingly call Josh “the Skyler whisperer.” With his calm demeanor and patience, Josh routinely helps Skyler gain the confidence to achieve even the most challenging tasks – like swallowing a very important & very expensive pill camera for his GI procedures or ride a horse for the first time!

By the way he randomly pauses, momentarily staring into Josh’s eyes, it’s evident Skyler is nonverbally thanking Josh for the unconditional love and never-ending support and encouragement he provides.

Not a day goes by without a silly song or a couch wrestling match shared between them. The reward for us all are huge smiles and the deep belly laugh that only Josh’s antics can generate from Skyler.

So, five years ago, when the possibility of Josh formally adopting Skyler became a viable option, his reaction completely melted my heart.

As his eyes welled up with tears he said, “That would mean the world to me. I love that little guy so much.”

Josh had already spent several years tending to Skyler’s every need and was fully invested as his dad on every level; this was just a legal formality. We both knew that their incredible relationship would remain the same.

But it was still mighty special!

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Today, February 6th, we proudly celebrate the 5th anniversary of this very important moment in our family… Happy ‘gotcha’ day to Skyler & Josh!

I’m taking the liberty of rewriting a section of Erma Bombeck’s “The Special Mother” poem to include all the ‘special fathers’ like Josh out there putting in the hard work but not often receiving the recognition they deserve.

“He will never take for granted a spoken word. He will never consider a step ordinary. When his child says ‘Dad’ for the first time, he will be witness to a miracle and know it…

“And what about his Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”