Colin Stories Pt. 1 (with a lot more to come)

People ask me a lot to tell them my favorite story about Colin. It’s hard to pick one because it seems like there’s a new one every day. Whether it be a new obsession (he has run the gamut from fireworks, to tornadoes, to the game Perfection, to sprinklers, to car washes, and his latest, Animusic), or something he has said (the good day pickle story, for example), or something he has done, Colin is a walking, talking, “you’ll-never-guess-what-happened-THIS-time” kind of story.

The story I like to tell most often about Colin, though, is how he helped me get through my grief and depression after my first wife passed away. Wendy was a wonderful woman. She was very caring, intelligent, and funny, and I loved her dearly. We had a great marriage. She was, however, very ill for the last several years of our life together. She was diabetic, and had most likely been diabetic for at least 10-15 years before she was diagnosed.

She passed away on November 3rd, 2007, not quite a year after we adopted our second son, Ryan (a little more than 2 years after we adopted Colin). Colin and Ryan were 3 and 2, respectively, and I was lost. I had been taking care of Wendy and the boys by myself for well over a year before she passed away due to the complications of her disease, but being totally without her was not something for which I was prepared.

I did what countless single parents have done in my situation. I sucked it up as best I could (oftentimes failing to do so), and tried to get on with our lives. There were times, though, that my grief and depression just overwhelmed me. There were times, and I’m not proud of this, I would literally sit on the floor and cry my eyes out, not knowing how I would get through another minute, let alone another day. Sometimes, I was able to hide it all from my boys, but often, I was not. Every time I would break down, and I mean EVERY time, Colin would see me, he’d sit down with me, and look me right in the eye (something he rarely does because of his autism), and he would just say, “It’s ok, daddy. I love you.”

Colin with a disco ball given to him by his teacher for Christmas