Today was a good day.
It wasn’t the best day but it wasn’t the worst day either. It was the day of the swimming carnival at my kid’s school and this year was the very first time that Harley has attended. It’s been the 3rd year that he has been old enough to go but I had no success in even getting him there in past years, so his attendance alone was a cause for celebration.
He announced to me on Monday morning that he would like to catch the bus with his sister (Ella) and so I reluctantly signed the permission slip. I was proud of him but I admit that I was also a little uneasy. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for helping him to stretch his comfort zone a little and I think it’s good for him to try new things but if I was to be completely honest, I was a little nervous having him experience so many new things at one time.
- Attending the carnival for the first time.
- Catching a bus with lots of other children.
- Surviving a crowded, noisy smelly environment for 6 hours straight with no escapes or safe corners.
But I prepared him the best that I could. And yesterday afternoon I had a chat to Ella and asked her if she would please text me at intervals throughout the day to let me know how her little brother was doing because *I* needed to know that he was surviving.
She promised she would and true to her word, she updated me every hour with messages like this:
God bless her - she is such a gem of a child.
So after receiving Ella’s second text, I decided to go for a long drive and I blasted my favourite music in the car singing along loudly at the top of my voice. Simply: because I could and it’s something that I LOVE doing!
Playing any music at ALL is a luxury that I don’t get to indulge in when Harley is in the car, so today I made the most of it and rocked it out big time.
And I may or may not have belted out some Kelly Clarkson, Alanis Morisette and just a bit of Katy Perry – you know – power songs and all that, but I digress….
But today was just what I needed. I had a great day doing whatever the hell I felt like and managed to refuel myself enough to be able to tackle any surprises that the afternoon may or may not have in store for me.
And thank goodness that I did.
Because when I watched Harley alight from the bus and walk towards me hand-in-hand with his big sister, my heart lunged into my shoes. I knew the face that he was wearing all too well. I could read the anxiety, fear and fright in his eyes and knew that he was trying so hard to hold it together. Bless him. I also knew that we only had limited time before the cork was released from the bottle so-to-speak and that I had to act fast. The rumblings of an explosion were there…. He was moaning quietly and pushing his head into my side. He was flailing his arms around floppily so I grabbed his little hand and headed for the office to sign him out early.
But Lucas wouldn’t leave. He wanted to change out of his swimming gear into his clothes and was refusing to come to the car with me. He started to pitch a fit and I didn’t want another upset child on my hands so I sent him to the bathroom with Ella to change. But they weren’t fast enough and Harley couldn’t hold it in any longer.
So mother and son sat on a step together away from prying eyes while my little boy broke his heart. Tears ran down his cheeks as he alternated between cuddling into me and thrashing uncontrollably. He WANTED to be close to me but he just COULDN’T. His body was fighting him and his entire sensory system was out-of-control. I did what I could but knew I had to ride it out. Eventually he calmed enough for me to carry him out to the car and take him home to his safe place.
It was hard on me to drive home watching him wipe away his silent tears out of the corner or my eyes, but I still couldn’t get over the immense sense of pride that I had at that very moment seeing how far he had come.
My boy achieved so much more than I would have ever thought possible today.
- He pushed past his own discomfort to display great sportsmanship by going along and cheering on his friends and classmates even though he himself is a non-swimmer.
- He dealt with a different format for the day and with not always knowing what was coming next or where his teacher would be at any given time.
- He caught the bus like the rest of the kids and went to a pool that he had NEVER been to before and did all this KNOWING that there would be loud noises, lots of kids and strong smells to contend with.
He has gone from a child who refused point-blank to even consider attending the swimming carnival only 12 months ago to a child who achieved SO MUCH personal growth today. And this Mama is so SO proud of him.
And for the record; I am not trying to teach my son to conform, to be like all the other kids or continually expose himself to situations that cause him so much pain and displeasure. Nor am I trying to change him into a ‘normal’ child. I am encouraging him to recognise what I have always known about him and that is that not only will he succeed in life but he will excel.
He can do anything that he puts his hand and mind to and he is amazing, strong and courageous.
And that’s no different to what ANY parent wants for their child is it?