Yesterday I think I began to understand what high school athlete’s parents feel like. I know my oldest is only 7 but hear me out.
I experienced those mixed feelings of excitement, stress, pride, fear, and the huge inner debate of standing back and hoping the moment for your child will teach success and winning and not loss and regrouping after failure.
At this point you are wondering what was so intense that mr. L took part in? He played with a group of girls probably aged 5-10.
Here’s the story
Yesterday I took my kids to the beach. With the weather starting to cool down I didn’t anticipate the need for swimsuits. I should have known better with mr. L. While mr. C ran for the playground and little miss A skirted the water mr. L jumped right in.
Soon after jumping in mr. L noticed about 10 little girls doing handstands together on the beach and he ran right into the middle of these kids and started trying to do one too saying, “I can’t do it” While trying to kick one leg in the air.
The girls sort of scooted away and regrouped. Mr. L was not derailed. He jumped right back in asking, “Hey girl what your name?” Again the herd of young females drifted over a bit.
He was not deterred
Again Mr. L lunged himself right into the middle with a huge grin and even apologized when he accidentally fell on one of the girls, “Oh I’m so sorry! Are you ok?” He soon won them over. He raced with them in the water, splashed with them, laughed, they taught him handstands and after an hour of playing he was invited into their group picture at the lake.
I’m grateful it turned out well. My first reaction was to figure out how to coax him away and redirect his attention. I was worried they would be mean. I was worried about making others feel uncomfortable by his lack of social rule following. I was concerned that a parent would swoop in and tell my kid who was a head taller than all the girls to scram, and then I would be saddled with the situation of apologizing, sympathizing, explaining and defending my son all while hoping his feelings weren’t hurt. Advocating can be complicated.
I chose to be brave
I chose to live in faith, not fear. I swallowed my fear of the what if’s, stood close by while keeping track of Mr. L’s siblings, and I smiled both patiently, encouragingly, and sympathetically at the girls when they looked confused at me before they had excepted him.
It was exhausting
The emotional roller coaster I flew around on that day while gently holding my daughters hand by the waters edge was exhausting. But that’s what I do because I want my kids to grow, stretch and learn. Autism is an adventure every day.
Have your kids recently encountered a new experience? How did you handle it? Have you been a football parent? Tell me about it in the comments below.
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