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TOPIC: How does dieing man make an impact on his toddlers
How does dieing man make an impact on his toddlers
2 Years, 5 Months ago

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How do I leave a legacy and make an impact on my daughters who are now 26 months old and 4 months old, when statiscally speaking, I've got 2-4 years to live, and maybe as little as 6 months of being physically able?

THe oldest could be 4 or 6 when I die, and the youngest could be 2 or 4.

As some of you already know, this fall, with my 1 month old in my lap and my 23 month old playing at my feet, my doctor told me I have Lou Gehrig's disease.

Statiscally speaking, I'll succumb to ALS in 2-4 yrs from now. YEs, I could live much longer, but the odds are not in my favor and there is nothing you can do to increase your life span. There's no cure, and no proven treatment.

After getting laid off when our first child was 1 month old, I've been a stay at home dad for the last two years.

We've had a lot of grand time together. She's amazing and i have a lot of fun running around with her, teaching her, playing with her, watching her...yes, I'm preaching to the choir; you guys know what I'm talking about.

However, I'm pretty certain that my children won't remember their daddy ever being fit and able, rolling around on the rug with them, going down the slide with them, etc. Heck, I might be gone so soon that they may not remember me at all.

Having kids in my mid-late 40's, my goal was to be able to walk them down the wedding aisle someday. Now my goal is to be able to walk them to their bus stop on their first day of school.

As far as how to make an impact on their lives, and how to leave a legacy, I'm really a deer in the headlights...and taking care of two kids 26 months and under doesn't leave a lot of time and energy to put an acton plan together.

I could really use some input.

Here's all I got so far:

First, I look at every single moment I spend with them as an imprint of some sort to be stored away somewhere into their psyche. SO, I try to act accordingly. Always do the right thing, in every situation.

Second, as they grow older and my ALS progresses more, I'll try be an example to my family to not let circumstances slow you down and get you off your game; to keep your eye on the prize, focus on whats important in life, what's right and wrong, to inspire them to push through their perceived barriers to get the most of out their lives. Easier said than done, I know,...but then so is everything. And what the hell else have I got to do; it's either shrivel up and die or go for it and try to leave a legacy for my little girls to draw strength, courage, values, and love from.

I am reading "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters", and it's a great place to be right now...but again, as if it was tough enough, the added challenge is the timing of how this is all going to unfold.

My strategy for this, in part, is to not dwell in the bitterness and anger that comes with getting ALS, but rather use that energy to open my mind to become a better problem solver; find and implement solutions to my new challenges, and concentrate on the things I can indeed do rather than focus on the things I am not able to do anymore.

And of course, love, hug, and hold them every chance I get.

It's a bit overwhelming for me to think about...I'm open to any and all suggestions. This may not be the busiest forum on the internet, but the replies that do get posted are usually full of great wisdom and sound advice.

Thanks, Dads.

T.Low Tom
Last Edit: 2013/02/01 05:16 By T.Low.
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Re:How does dieing man make an impact on his toddlers
2 Years, 5 Months ago
Wow. Just wow. That's a hard read Man. I can't fathom it... But, I'll try to imagine, though I'm sorry, I really hate to...

With all the technology available today, I say make it EASY for them to get to know you, even after you're gone. Video, video, video. And write, write, write. And I mean everything.

First, for their younger years, video yourself WITH them lots and lots. Record storytime WITH them. And then maybe even record yourself reading a book to the camera, perhaps a few "older kids" books that you enjoyed at various young ages.

Take TONS of photos of you all together, and of you and your wife together, and just you. Document your life with them.

Perhaps get an older kid in the family(or a close friend) to write up some questions they'd like to know about their dad or parents. (To get an idea of what maybe a 9 year old or 15 year old would ask.) Do an interview with yourself. You could even dress the wee ones up like reporters as if they are interviewing you. (I see this as the vid edit: Show the question in text on the screen with a photo of wee reporter(s), then answer the question directly to the camera.)

And write a shit ton of journal entries. Instead of Dear Diary, yours would say "Dear Daughters," or "Dear Family..."

Record or write birthday messages. Ask them questions about their lives, and then answer those questions with stories of your life at that time? (ie. Did you get a cool new tech gadget for your birthday? When I was 15, a CD walkman was about as cool as you could get!) Something like that. Or just tell a story about your life at that age. And leave instructions to your wife that those notes or videos don't come out until those specific birthdays.

I remember another similar situation where a dying Dad put together a conglomerate of close friends (Dads) for his kids. I think it was 4 or 5 other guys who were going to be the father figures for his kids. I'll see if I can't find that story.

Edit: Found it. DaddyTroy even interviewed the guy who made a documentary about the Dad.

I wish you great luck in your life. Your situation is scary for me to even think about, but you are also very inspiring. Perspective check, for real.
Last Edit: 2013/02/01 09:02 By concretin_nik.
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Re:How does dieing man make an impact on his toddlers
2 Years, 5 Months ago

Start a journal. Write to your daughters. Try to do an entry every day, or maybe five a week. Nothing fancy - MS Word is just fine.

It might be hard to write the first entry... maybe you haven't written a journal since your fourth grade teacher made you do it, and your parents bought you a Red Wings spiral notebook especially for it.

Write to them. Tell your girls a little bit about what it was like when they were born, or what they did that particular day - if it's something little like getting spaghetti sauce handprints all over the refrigerator door, or something big like counting to ten for the first time.

Write to them. Tell them stories about when you were a little kid, what it was like to go over your grandma's house, or how exciting it was if your folks let you stay up to watch the game on TV with them.

Write to them. Confide in them things that you wouldn't confide to anyone else. Tell them things you'll want them to know in the many chapters of their lives to come.

Keep writing. If a few years down the road it starts getting uncomfortable to type, have your wife do the typing for you.

You've got the world's best family... just look at how beautiful they all are. You have every bit of my heartfelt respect, Tom - I'm cheering you on. Be the outlier - be Stephen Hawking (edit: yeah it's out of your hands... but that doesn't mean it won't happen). Get those wonderful little girls to the bus stop and beyond.

Last Edit: 2013/02/01 21:24 By roger_pdx.
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Re:How does dieing man make an impact on his toddlers
2 Years, 4 Months ago
I'll echo the Wow. That's rough. I respect the initiative it takes to get beyond yourself onto leaving a legacy. Roger and Nik hit the nail on the head. I think about those Google commercials. In some ways, I imagine it could be spooky, getting an email from your father made years ago. Definitely work with your wife. She's going to be the one trying to keep the herd moving along.

But treat yourself well. Build memories and enjoy what you have. But you already know that.
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Re:How does dieing man make an impact on his toddlers
2 Years, 4 Months ago
Thanks a ton for the great replies, guys. Some really great ideas here.

TOday I'l look up an app for my iPhone so I can voice record ideas as they come to me. I seem to get them while mountain biking a lot.

I am going to write some sort of note to be openned on their respective graduations, wedding days, and other milestone special occassions, letting them know that I, infact, am there. That sort of thing.

I've got a ton of friends that are coming out of the wood work offerring anything that I need. I think I'll ask some of the gals for advice on this sort of thing. Some of them seem to be very in tune with what girls need/want from their fathers, and what girls like in general that I may never have thought of.

I like the idea of videos of "dad" while he is still healthy and strong, in his "normal" state.

Changed oil, air filter, and fuel filter in the van yesterday. Right hand is getting pretty gimpy. Kinda scary.

Thanks a ton, Guys.
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