Sometimes I get sad, but not about the things people would assume I get sad about.
I don’t get sad about the label.
I get sad about the affect of autism. Here is an example.
I’m posting late tonight. Why? Because I had an amazing day with my friends. Doing what? This.
Canoeing down the beautiful river that runs by our home.
Seriously, this is the stuff that is ‘of the God’s.’ I grew up about four miles from a river and 1/2 mile from a large creek. Many, many of my summer days were spent knee-deep in nature’s hydration – wading, finding clams, catching minnows, sinking in the sand. There is a sort of peace here. No technology. The laughter of friends. The solemnness of the trees. The sound of the current. The understanding of God’s beauty. When on the river I often express to my friends, “This is life. THIS is life.” This is the stuff that is most important in life.
Then…I get sad, and my friends know why. I sometimes have difficulty holding back the tears. For two reasons really- because it’s such a part of who I am and because it’s so difficult for Tucker.
He hates the river. Before I go on…you need to know that this is not the Mississippi or the Missouri. This river is a ‘stand up’ river. So, if the canoe flips…stand up, you’ll be fine.
Regardless – he hates it. He hates his feet off the ground if even for a moment(read Day #50 – Overcoming Fear to Trust). Balance? Not his strong suit. Loss of control? Not his strong suit (read Day #18 – Turtle or the Hare, Part I)
We have finally come to the point that he agreed to go on the river one time per summer. I’ve tried tubes. I’ve tried kayaks. It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t like the risk.
I also have to write that once we get him on the river he has a GREAT time…but getting him to go? Ugh…
Today, Estelle received a kayak for her birthday. She, in fact, LOVES the river. She loves EVERYTHING about the river. The water, the trees, the breeze, the jumping fish – EVERYTHING.
Tonight when I arrived home I was beyond excited to watch her in her kayak. My husband spent the afternoon teaching her about padding, about boarding, about exiting, about floating, about flipping – all of it.
We went outside and Tucker followed. She attempted to board the kayak and misstepped. She fell into the pool giggling. He stepped back and looked at me. “Mom, you better get in the pool in case she runs into trouble.” I jumped right in.
Here is the deal – I was, at one time, a certified lifeguard. I’m not now – but those skills don’t ‘vanish.’ Yet his reticence and anxiety take over. He just cannot take the chance.
That’s what makes me sad. I get that other parents would love his careful nature – and while it’s awesome, it makes me worry.
It’s not just the river – it’s life.
Taking chances is part of life. Sometimes (and often) when you take a chance the most amazing things happen. Truthfully, sometimes you get hurt…but at least you have a story to tell.
Regardless, we keep trying.
Trying every angle possible – not just because I love to be on the river but because I want him to know and respect the beauty and the power of God’s creation.
Trying because risk is a part of life. As Oscar Wilder said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people exist that is all.”
I want, above all, for him to live.