Note from the Author
To the Adults…
I began writing Our Daddy Is Invincible! when sitting in Bethesda National Naval Medical Center’s ICU waiting room after my husband, Tim, was wounded. A few days prior, in order to be at Tim’s bedside in Germany, I had left my children, Alexis and Eric, then 10 and 7 respectively, at our North Carolina home in the care of my sister, Sandra, and her husband, Rick. Telling the children that their father had been wounded was hard. Leaving them so soon afterward and seeing the fear behind their little eyes was heartbreaking. Despite the knowledge that we had always tried to empower our children throughout the many deployments with the idea that life goes on and we move forward when challenges arise, I wanted to be able to convey to them a more concrete sense of strength and hope that daddy’s wounds would not stop the wonderful experiences we had enjoyed together and have planned for the future. It was especially important to me when I felt my resolve was not at full strength, wrestling with my own emotions. Reading a book at bedtime was our comfort and cuddle time, so a book seemed a great forum for this – something they could hold and see and go back to for reassurance during the harder moments, with someone or by themselves.
Through Tim’s recovery we have been blessed to meet many other wounded families with an amazing resolve, although wrestling with similar issues. Their resilient children looked to the adults in their world to guide them through the enormous amount of unknowns about how their parent’s injuries will affect them. Adults, like us, wanted to be able to offer their children comfort and found limited resources to help. When we adopted Cassidy at age 5 and three years into Tim’s recovery, she too had questions about her daddy’s “boo boos”, especially as she experienced his second brain surgery and recovery. Our older children began expressing a desire to help her and other children like them understand the hope and comfort they found. It was time to take those initial writings and develop them into something in which all families could find benefit. On behalf of all of us involved with this project, I hope you find the book to be a good resource and addition to your library.
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, family caregiver, friend or teacher, as you read this book with those children looking to you for answers, please use it as a tool to empower not only their strength, but their creativity. Reassure them that they are not alone. There are many families around the nation experiencing these types of tragedies and yet find ways to live full and enjoyable lives together. Due to the severity of some individuals’ injuries, the level of interaction between children and their parents compared to that depicted in the book may vary, however this book seeks to instill hope and acceptance so that in large or small ways, children can find ways to continue to find their wounded parent a part of their lives. Let them know they can help in the recovery and come up with new ways to have fun and be together. Encourage their questions and provide honest answers at a level you feel your children are ready for. One of the hints our children relayed to us, was that it was scarier for them when they thought we were not telling them everything. They wanted and needed to know more information so we could put a name to it and talk about how to deal with it. The “not knowing” created more mystery and greater room for their imagination to create more gruesome images or worrisome thoughts. They appreciated the matter of fact way we presented Tim’s traumatic brain injury and its side effects – what it was and what it meant, always ending on the positives and possibilities.
You are all stronger than you know! Believe in the invincibility of the inner spirit – yours and theirs. Shannon Maxwell