Welcome to our 3rd Annual Salute to Rett Dads! Each day this week leading up to Father's Day, we will share a blog written by a father of a girl suffering from Rett Syndrome. Later in the week we will share a video slideshow of over 100 dads with their beautiful girls.
Just because these girls have Rett Syndrome does not mean they are not still "Daddy's Little Girl" .... times one million! To all the Rett Dads - thank you for your special role in raising these very special girls.
Written by Eli Callaway
After three boys I was losing hope of fulfilling my wish to have a daughter. The idea of a little girl to "protect." The idea of chasing away boys and one day sending her off into the world. Tea parties, glitter, learning to do hair and nails all of these were yet daydreams. Until my Bliss came to us. Elianna Bliss. My perfect brown eyed angel. My time in Perfectville did not last long.
At not even two months old my Bliss was taken into surgery for herniated uterus and fallopian tube. Everything turned out fine. Slowly oddities crept into her. She was not a good sleeper. She was allergic to cow's milk. Cuddling seemed to frustrate. Most troubling was the awful look she would give to people. She acted as though she wanted to talk and walk. At one year old we were content on moving from Perfectville to HighMaintenanceville. After all, this was my Bliss. She was worth it.
The next six months were a bright flash, and bang. How did we get to Autism Land. A blur of therapy and more therapy. Strange people always trying to help my little girl. My little girl that wouldn't stop screaming. As a Dad, Autism was a challenge to fight. I can do something about this. More therapy, more books, and more blogs. And this entire time my Bliss is slipping further and further away from me. Endless days listening to my beautiful daughter scream. Nothing was working. I had put all my hope into getting out of Autism Land. I was slapped in the face to learn we had misread the signs. Our sign read, “Welcome to Rettville.”
As her regression slowed, my Bliss came out from her shell. During the time that I felt completely helpless as a father, my daughter started to laugh. And continues to laugh a lot. She lights up around people and wants to play. From absolute misery she has given me true bliss. Rettville is not the funnest place. Unlike other places, in Rettville many choices now are easy. Quitting smoking was almost easy. My family is stronger and more compassionate. We are Team Elianna, rocking out in Rettville!