The gifts and challenges of being a quadriplegic father

By Caitlin Gibson: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The routine varies a little each night — life with a newborn is unpredictable like that — but one thing is always the same: Before he goes to sleep, Josh Basile takes extra time to be physically close to his son, Calder. Sometimes Calder nestles into the crook of Basile’s arm and dozes. Other nights, if the baby is alert and wiggly, Basile lies down beside the co-sleeper bassinet and talks to his son face-to-face; lately, as Calder nears 12 weeks old, he’s started to smile at his dad. Basile’s partner, Katie Fava, often places their little boy on Basile’s chest, and helps hold him there.

“Katie is the one who does all the heavy lifting,” Basile says, and he means this literally. In the earliest stage of parenthood, so many of the demands are physical — the baby needs to be fed, burped, cleaned, dressed, rocked — and Basile, a quadriplegic who has only limited movement in his arms, can’t feed, burp or rock the baby. He can’t buckle the straps of a car seat, or wash a bottle, or change a diaper. His version of fatherhood is one that must transcend the limitations of a body that is immobile from the chest down.

But in the 18 years since the accident that left Basile paralyzed, he has learned to focus his attention and effort on what is possible, on the things he can do — so he goes to great lengths to make sure Calder can see him, hear him and feel him every day.

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