It's no secret. Anyone who has seen my office or the pictures from our Spark Halloween parties knows I'm a big fan of Batman. While obsessive (and probably a bit psychotic), I have always been amazed by the characters drive and resolve. He has overcome a tragic incident, turning the inevitable hurt, feelings of helplessness, and (unjustified) guilt caused by that incident into a crusade. With no "superpowers," he has pushed himself to learn, train and practice the skills he needs to fight his battles -- to insure that what happened to him would not happen to anyone else, to do what the "established authorities" could not. And, he undertook this extreme dedication, in the shadows, -- away from the spotlight, although he truly has no need to do so.
But, it wasn't until the other day that I discovered his true identity. No, it's not Bruce Wayne. The real Batman is . . .
my wife, Tina.
How did I come upon this revelation? As we often do, Tina and I were discussing the progress of the kids at Spark, and lamenting about the poor state of understanding that exists with respect to the causes and treatments of ASDs, and how lucky we were to figure out how to help Robert. That, of course, turned into thoughts about how wrongly we were led by those originally treating Robert all those years ago, how Robert suffered because of it, and how Robert's problems were probably preventable in the first place.
At that point, Tina turned to me and said, "I still feel so guilty about what happened to him."
To which I replied, "How can you feel 'guilty'? We had a limited knowledge base, and we did everything that all the doctors told us to do. We did everything we were supposed to do for Robert. Feel bad for what happened, even feel angry about what happened, but how can you feel guilty?"
"I just do," she said.
And then it hit me. Tina is The Batman!
A life changing, tragic incident -- our first born, our son, diagnosed with ADHD, ODD and PDD. Hurt, helplessness and unjustified guilt over the incident and all that befell Robert because of it. An obsessive quest for knowledge -- never giving up hope that we could really help Robert -- all the searching, all the research, all the time and effort to find the approaches that would work. Even going back to school for her Masters in Nutrition Counseling -- pregnant with our third child -- because she realized how important and potentially life changing such interventions could be for others. Researching nearly everyday, and taking on the crusade for kids like Robert. To do, what the "established authorities" cannot.
And she, too, works in the "shadows" -- or, as I like to call it, "Spark Development" -- even though Robert is completely fine now.
So, why does she do it? Because, Tina is The Batman.