Parenting a child with a disability
Michael George has just self-published his first book, Third Time Lucky; How Ben Shows us the Way.
Why has a father written a book about life with Ben? For Mike, he wanted other parents – parents of children who have great challenges to their health and well-being – to know what to expect. Parents who may feel like Mike often did, on his own, just trying to cope with each day.
Mike describes himself as having an analytical persona that does not lend itself to creative book authorship. But when his son was six months old, he started writing a detailed weekly log to record the facts and feelings of daily life. The weekly log was a way to help Mike and his wife Jan remember things like the last time Ben was sick like this, what did we do? What helped? What didn’t help? Now, 20 years later, Mike was able to use those logs to share a true and honest account of his Ben’s life. Stories that are written just as they occurred; how it really felt at the time, sharing what happened without the cloudiness of retrospective journaling.
Mike wrote this book first and foremost for other parents and caregivers, so they could have a road map. Mike and Jan had nothing to go on. And uncertainty as a parent is the hardest feeling. Mike is an advocate for his son Ben and for other people like Ben and their families.
Secondly, Mike wrote the book for the myriad of health-care professionals who care for children like Ben and their families. So they understand the enormous weight and stress that these parents carry around every day. He hopes reading Third Time Lucky will change how health-care professionals interact with parents to make the experience better for parents.
What Mike did not expect was the response from people who are neither parents nor professionals who have read his book. Bystanders who have no experience with disability or health issues. Their response has been overwhelming. Mike gets comments like, “I couldn’t put it down.” “When it ended I really wanted to know more.”
Mike’s most poignant adages about his journey with Ben so far as they look to the future:
• Spend a day at Neurology Clinic at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and your life starts to look good.
• Life is fragile and life is important.
• Parenting is shared.
• One person cannot do it alone.
• Do it together.
• Don’t take no for an answer.
• Dream big.
• Nobody really knows that you aren’t going to get there.
• Keep going.
• Don’t let anyone put the brakes on you.
• Get out of the way.
• Get out of Ben’s way.
To learn more and to get your copy,