When his daughter Schuyler was eighteen months old, a simple question by her pediatrician set in motion a slow transformation for Robert Rummel-Hudson, from a sarcastic, befuddled dad to the very last thing any new father or mother ever expects or desires to become: a special needs parent. Armed with nothing more than his love for his tenacious little girl and his determination to defeat her rare and invisible disorder, he fought his own depression, his past family dysfunction and the nagging suspicion that he was not the right person for the job. In doing so, he discovered a sense of purpose and responsibility, and became the father and advocate that Schuyler needed to help fight her monster.
Schuyler’s Monster is more than the memoir of a parent dealing with a child’s disability. It is the story of the relationship between a unique and ethereal little girl floating through the world without words, and her earthbound father. It is the story of a family struggling to find the answers to a child’s dilemma, but it is also a chronicle of their unique relationships, formed without traditional language against the expectations of a doubting world.
Ultimately, it is the tale of a little girl who silently teaches a man filled with self-doubt how to be the father she needs.
|Illustration by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, 2007