Monday, June 4, 2012

Poolside Observations

At 9 a.m. sharp, we arrived at the pool.  The conditions were less than ideal for Connor's very first swim team practice.  The temperatures hovered in the mid-60s and rain drops splattered the pavement.  Teenage swim instructors met Connor at the pool and ushered him into the "cage" (fenced-in basketball court).  Amid the rain, the junior swimmers stretched and played games.

I brought all four kids which typically leaves me supervising the spectator children with little opportunity to observe the child performing.  But today all three brothers seemed happy poolside.  Caleb snagged a dry plastic chair under a canopy of branches.  He became engrossed in a fact book and didn't make a peep the entire practice.  Cooper quickly made friends...with girls (no surprise for my budding Casanova) and then contently galavanted around the pool with his new entourage.  Collin alternated between coloring and running around with toddler friends.  How perfect!

With four boys entertained, I crept over to the pool and truly watched Connor participate in practice.  He seemed happy and eager to follow Coach Paul's instructions.  I watched him listen to his teenage coach and mimic his kicks in the deep end.  Then, I saw him chase after his teammates and jump into icy waters if just for a minute.  He emerged happy even in the cold.

I stood with a team of moms on the sidelines.  I imagined that they observed such a practice without much thought.  I watched the same practice with amazement and a deep sense of appreciation.  You see, my experiences as a sports mom have been difficult up until now.  My Asperger's son was our first child placed into sports.  For him, little things like attending sports practices and participating on teams have been challenging, if not impossible.  I hold countless memories of my Aspie son standing on the side of a soccer field/baseball field/swimming pool/karate studio/fencing class in tears and utter defiance or deep anxiety.  Inevitably, I run onto the field and calm his fears, talk him into participating, hold his hand, run along side him, and then wipe away tears (mine and his).

Today, I'm thankful for the little things: watching a son gleefully jump into a pool and savor in the camaraderie of a team.  

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