March 30, 2020
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I’m standing out in the open. I have a moment of hesitation. I grab his vest and
I start dragging. He gets heavier. I heard a voice. I start yelling at him,
like, “Check, check. See where I’m hit.” He goes, “there’s a hole,”
and the only thing I can think to ask is, “How big is it?” Next thing I know,
lights go out. Growing up in
New York was interesting. You didn’t just
live left to right — you lived up and down. It was almost like
being a ghost. I could kind of just
draft in, draft out, watch what was happening
and then just kind of move on. I definitely yearned
for a connection. I yearned to be
established in one place. My father was never
really part of my life. The few times he would come
around, it was just fights. For as long as I
could remember, I was always looking
for a way out. I wanted to fight back,
take control of my own life, take control of that
feeling of helplessness and powerlessness. I was a soldier. Down to my bones
and in my DNA. I’d found a family,
I had found a purpose. It really was
just ripped away. And it was almost like
being back to square one, just on my own again. Just kind of floating
through life, like day in, day out, just
doing nothing for so long. I grew up idolizing
the families on TV — the mom and dad
and the kids. You had the challenges of
being a married family, but you know, you would
also see that love, that bond between people. And it’s something that
I didn’t understand. When I finally found
the right person to be with and
spend my life with, I was just not
confident that I could raise a child, physically. I didn’t want them to grow
up feeling like maybe he didn’t want me because
he never picked me up. I can recall weeks
where I didn’t step foot outside the house. And what kind of
father can’t even go in the yard to
play with my kid? If not for my wife, I would
have been drifting forever. All these things you’re
throwing into that hole, and little by little it
starts to kind of fill itself. After 11 years of marriage,
I looked at my wife and I said, “You know, things
have been going really well for a while. Let’s screw it up. Let’s have a kid.” The first year is
definitely — keep them alive. Make sure they
don’t fall down. I feel like it’s
my job to give him the very basics
of truth, justice, and honor and integrity,
selflessness and service, then to let him decide
what’s most important to him. I don’t want it ever
to be boys can’t cry. It was always suck
it up, you drive on. You get shot, get up,
you rub some dirt in it. You never show weakness. After I was
injured, I honestly have never felt more alone. In this day and age
where we’re so connected, it seems we’re so isolated. I felt that I had no
one I could go to. I wanted a father in my life. I missed the idea of him. I never want that for him. My hope is that I can
be his biggest champion. I don’t want him
to think of dad as this disabled vet
or this war hero or whatever have you,
but just dad, the guy that’s always
had my back.

Tony wyaad