I am Juan Reyes

a U.S. military veteran living with ALS,
living with ALS


So should I wallow in self pity? Heck no! I’m a Dad, I’m Pops, until I take my last breath.

“Let me walk you through it.”

This phrase has taken on a new meaning for me as a father. You see, I can no longer walk due to ALS.

As the father of 4, I would say this phrase as I taught my children life lessons and skills, such as basic house repairs and DIY projects. I was that guy: try and fix it myself, until my wife insisted I hire someone, lol. I also cooked, quite well, and would “walk” my kids through cooking their favorite meals. Not to mention the grill–oh, the grill. Patience, anticipation and the thrill of a perfectly grilled or BBQ’d piece of meat. Fellow dads, you know what I’m cooking here.

Now, as I’m relegated to a power chair, I can still teach my kids, but I can’t “show” them step-by-step. Do you know how frustrating it is to direct an obstinate teen to do something? Patience is a must, lol (I’m not laughing).  We adapt, though. Communication evolves on both parties, or devolves based on the task. Regardless, learning takes place.

I never imagined I’d be here, in this condition, but I am. Just like many dads, there are laundry lists of things we do around the house that we hope to teach our children. I’m no expert in many of them, but hey, there’s YouTube, as the kids say. But I’m supposed to be their Google-Dad, their YouTube-Dad, their go-to. In a way I still am, just not in a physical way.

So should I wallow in self pity? Heck no! I’m a Dad, I’m Pops, until I take my last breath. So until then, do as I say, follow my lead–except when I say hold my drink. In that case listen to mom, lol.

Wishing all the dads a fantastic Father’s Day!

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