His First Swim meet

Mr. L & his parents.

Let’s switch things up around here. Enough with the doom, heartbreak and gloom. Besides, that’s just really not my style. Why? Because I choose every day for it to not be. I prefer a positive outlook on life, it makes the weight of it all seem a little less heavy.

So today I want to write about something new and adventurous! Let’s talk about Mr. L’s first swim meet and how amazing he did! First off let’s just take a minute to appreciate that Mr. L was capable of competing in a swim meet at all! Have you been to one of those events? They are hectic, busy, loud, and there are people of all ages rushing around all over the place to wait. They wait in a gym, then they wait in a hallway, then they wait at the starting block, then after they swim they wait elsewhere to start all over again.

If I was to make a list of activities not great for autism, a swim meet would make the top 10 no doubt. And yet, not only did my kid get through the whole meet, he wants to do it again!

As a family we were lucky to have so much help at our first swim competition. My son had two teen girls assigned to help my kiddo navigate the chaos. Mr. L also had a volunteer parent who made sure he was given a heads up when he needed to head to the gym soon for staging, and we were aloud to hang around upstairs- away from the frantic scurrying of dripping swimmers, hustling volunteers and the gobs of friendly spectators.

And of course Mr. L’s favorite human just so happened to swim competitively in high school and still swims laps for exercise. So my sister in law and parent in-laws made the two hour drive to support my first born in his first swim meet. My sister in law was more then over joyed at the very idea of her nephew swimming competitively and was super helpful in supplying him with swim gear and on the day of the meet was right by his side every step of the way.

I was grateful for the help because this swim meet felt so foreign, like I had been tossed into a foreign airport and I couldn’t speak the language, but I needed to make sure to calmly make sure to get my autistic kiddo to all of his flights on time and help keep his nerves down at the same time. Trust me, we have been through harder stuff and I could have made it work… But having all those extra hands to support my kiddo was very welcome!

For those who were curious how he did, he took 3rd on his first race. He took 4th on his second go around, and on his last he was supposed to swim down and back twice.. He swam down and back as hard as he could and was physically wiped out, so he stopped and did not do his 2nd lap 🙂 and sometimes that’s just how it goes when you are trying something new and very hard. And we couldn’t be more proud of this kid of ours.

If you were wondering if I teared up watching him swim, be rest assured to know that of course I did. Watching him get on that starting block in that loud room that was packed from wall to wall with spectators and being able to do what the other swimmers were doing was enough to make me burst with pride.

While crouched at the end of his lane ready to remind him to swim back to the block, I was reminded of all the times I watched his blond, little curls swim away from me in Michigan lake and despite wearing a life jacket, my heart lurched every time he was out of arms reach.

Mr. L has always loved water and the Michigan lake was a place of solace and sanctuary to him for a few short years. But during that time, he grew so much and I like to give some credit to the sand he used to run his little hands through, and even dragged his head through for a sensory recharge as a part of that big jump in his growth. He graduated from ABA, he outgrew his special needs school, he mastered his toilet training and let us know he was reading full on books during those beach visiting years.

So as Mr. L swam his laps and completed another, amazing milestone, as his momma I couldn’t help but remember all the milestones he paddled through to get to that point and of course my eyes brimmed with tears. How could they not? I am just wowed by all the things this kid does when he had doctors at the beginning of his diagnosis tell me it was hard to see him doing things in his future, and here he is doing them!

And that’s why I write this blog. Not to complain, but to share. To share this kid’s journey and to share our family trekking through life with him 💚

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