I started this blog back in 2010, and wrote three small pieces, of no real note, one is still on the site just as a reference as to where I came from. I restarted the blog because I was told that I need to express myself and connect with people in a broader way. I decided to take back up the RPG blog, because it is what I know. It has been a constant in my life, for a majority of it. I started when I was nine years old, and thirty years later it is still here. I have traveled all over to play and run games, and supported with my meager funds companies that I enjoy. I am an educator by trade, and I love teaching people new concepts, and helping students become better people. I state all of this as a representation of how much this hobby has meant to me, and how much I enjoy sharing it with others.
This week was a gut punch, not an unexpected one, but a gut punch none the less. We have to go back about six years to just before my son was born. My wife and I were super excited as most new parents are at that time. We were also extremely nervous, which is also par for the course. We both had our things we wanted to share with the boy, and we purchased many of them and put them away for when he was old enough. My wife has an extreme love of books, and especially picture books, which we have an entire large chest. I went ahead and purchased some great starter RPGs and hobby games that would be perfect for him once he was old enough. I painted miniatures that I still have not used, waiting for the day we would bust them out and I would get to share my passion with my son. Wait until he gets to the same age I was, and get him into that Heroquest box set I got again. I heard from many gamers that Space Hulk was a good first game for kids and I purchased that too. I even hunted down some old AD&D books and modules for that perfect time to introduce him to the Caves of Chaos.
That is not going to happen though.
When Atticus (my son) was about one, I noticed something was a bit off. I taught Psychology for years, and you discuss milestones in children, and he was not hitting his milestones. He could not hold his own bottle, he was not babbling in a manner appropriate for his age, and he did not responded to loud noises appropriately. At first we thought he was deaf, we could drop a large book from 5 feet up directly behind him and he would not respond. We took him to his doctor, and we heard for the first time the preliminary diagnosis, autism. We were told to get him tested and into therapy as soon as possible, this would give him the best chance of maximizing his potential. We did as we were told, and he has been in some form of treatment since he was a year and six months old. We have had hearing test, allergies tests, brain scans, genetic tests, and ear tube surgery. Speech therapy, ABA therapy, and Occupational Therapy, with visits to more specialist than you can imagine. He has done private programs at great cost, and public ones with little to no cost. We’ve seen quack specialist that promised improvement with simple supplements, and we’ve been gluten, soy, and casein free for years. I say this not to pat myself on the back, but to express that we have tried any and everything, even when it sounded ridiculous, to help him.
My son is now five and a half, and is having to prepare for school next year, and still cannot talk. We discussed with his therapist options, and they are now suggesting for him to get a communication device. Basically an iPad that he can push and express himself more. This is, to us, the kiss of death as far as him ever being able to communicate verbally. This is the last resort to get him to communicate in any manner. This is now the crux of the issue. I cannot share my love of these games with him, because they are games that fundamentally revolve around communication. We will never travel the lands of Faerun together, or sail the space lanes to The Rock of Braal.
I do not want this to come across that I in anyway dislike my son, or love him ANY less. When you ramp up to being a parent, you have certain expectations and certain hopes for your child, and for the things you will do together. It is that aspect that I will miss. Currently he is a VERY active little boy, which loves running, laughing, and swimming more than anything. I am very grateful for him, and very grateful for my wife, who takes all these things in stride better than I. I also know that this feeling is transient and I will get past it, but writing this out and expressing it to the world helps with the feelings a lot.
I am unsure how to end this, it was not really planned, and is not really the focus of the blog. Life gets pretty real at moments, at least I can retreat back into a fantasy world every now and again to help with those times.