Axel's Dad

Axel's Dad

I only know him as Axel’s dad.

Axel, the boy on my son’s middle school soccer team.

We wave, smile, make small talk as our families watch nail biting games on cold fields in eastern North Carolina.

Last night, I saw a different side of Axel’s dad.

A friend had invited our whole family to dinner and when my husband said he didn’t feel well, I headed out in the sleet to Mamasita’s, our local Mexican restaurant.

Owned by Axel’s dad.

We had just gotten settled and ordered drinks when Amos got frustrated.


He’s five and with autism and genetic differences, something as simple as going out to supper can become solving a Rubik’s cube in the dark.

He fussed and yelled, threw my phone, slithered from his chair and landed underneath the table where he kicked and screamed and voiced his annoyance at the phone’s inability to connect to YouTube.

To say that I was frustrated is an understatement. It is one of the hardest things about being a special needs mom and a struggle on so many levels.

Angry at myself for feeling angry at him. Sad for my other children who should be able to just have a plain old dinner out.

Embarrassed as I hauled his writhing self outside so other folks could enjoy their meals.

You see, so often, it never ends well.

But last night? It did.

And all because of Axel’s dad.

As I held back tears and contemplated what I should do, he asked how he could help. While he searched for the restaurant’s wireless password, he handed his phone over to Amos.

My twelve year old son was incredulous- “Mom, I can’t believe Axel’s dad let Amos use his phone.”

“Me either,” I said.

A bowl of fried ice cream appeared and soon, all was calm.

You know, it’s the littlest things that make the biggest difference.

Thank you, Axel’s dad.

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