Footsteps of the Preemie/Special Needs/Angel Daddy

Father and son, Father's Day 2011

I posted this for Father’s Day about 5 years ago to honor dads, but I think the essence of it is still relevant, so I wanted to re-post it again today for Father’s Day 2016. I’ve tweaked it quite a bit this time to really highlight the uniqueness and importance of preemie, special needs and angel daddys everywhere. May your Father’s Day and every day be as special as you are.

For My Daddy

Walk a little slower Daddy, said a child so small,

I’m following in your footsteps

And I don’t want to fall.

My steps are incredibly tiny and can be awfully slow at times,

For being born a preemie or having special needs can make life’s steps a little harder to climb,

But you’ve stuck with me and always have, even when I’ve not made any steps at all,

Because maybe I’m in the NICU, in a wheelchair or floating high on Heaven’s soil,

People think you’re only supposed to be the protector ~ staying silent and strong,

Never showing your emotions or admitting that there’s anything wrong,

But that’s not the whole picture Daddy, you and I know you’re so much more than that,

Thinking you were alone, your tears rolled down when my autism prevented us from having a chat

You’re vulnerable and scared and a big softie too,

Your arms embrace me, your heart engulfs me and you hold our family together like glue:

Despite this being a very different kind of fatherhood than you’d imagined you would have,

You press on, making big, bold footsteps in everything you do

To me, these footsteps are very special because they’re filled to the brim with truth,

These truths are your love, your big heart and your desire to fix what’s ‘broken’,

But even if what’s ‘broken’ may be me sometimes, given my diagnosis or condition,

You’ve always made me feel completely whole and able to tackle any mission,

So, walk a little slower, Daddy

I need to walk alongside you

To feed off of your wisdom, delight in your strength or share a giggle or two,

Sometimes your steps are very fast,

My blindness makes them hard to see;

But even in my darkness, Daddy,

I feel and know you’re leading me.

Someday when I’m all grown up,

And it’s my turn to drink from the parenting cup;

Your example will be my guide,

That I will follow with pride,

Then if/when I have a little child,

Who’ll want to follow me.

I want to make sure I lead them right,

And I know this is what I’ll do,

Because you’re walking a little slower now, Daddy,

And I am following you.

To all of the wonderful preemie, special needs and angel fathers and father-figures out there. I salute and honor you on this Father’s Day.


Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez


2 Responses

  1. Magnifico poema y comentario acerca del día del padre Gigi,

    Te felicito. Tienes un corazón grande

  2. Lovely poem Gigi. I especially loved your newsletter today about Alejandro in the pool with his dad and such a wonderful photo of them both. gorgeous & apt for Father Day 🙂 x Di

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