Ok so in case you don’t already know me, I am a sap. I mean it…where do you think Noah gets his emotions??? I wear mine on my sleeve…well actually on my face, AND no matter WHAT I feel, I feel it big and you can see it well. SO, with that being said as a forewarning, I am going to tell you about Isaiah participating in track this year and how proud I am of him for it and why I am so proud of him for it (yes, run on, yes, I’m leaving it because I’m gushing right now).
Each season I try to let my kids choose a sport to participate in because, well, home school. They really do have just as many opportunities as public school, but I only let them choose one each so we are not governed by a crazy sports schedule, and this works well for us. I have absolutely nothing bad to say to families who are able to juggle this schedule, we simply can’t. So, this semester Isaiah chose track which is a sport he has wanted to try for some time AND our local YMCA just happened to be starting a track team for the first time. YAY!
A little history lesson; Isaiah tried baseball once and it was NOT for him. That’s ok, it just wasn’t. From the first year we began homeschooling until this year he has participated in soccer with our local home school group, which he LOVES. He LOVES to run and he LOVES to kick a ball. Unfortunately, he lacks some coordination, but he has always played his heart out and done rather well and continued on until track became available. Track is a big deal for a few reasons:
- Isaiah has played soccer since he was 4 (except for the baseball year) so track means trying something new
- While Isaiah loves to run, he also loves to run on his own terms…and take breaks when he wants to and he doesn’t do well at being pushed
- When Isaiah played soccer, the only audience around was other home school families; he never played in front of a crowd and it was a non-competitive so there was not much (if any) actual competition
- Isaiah has Asperger’s…this means Isaiah really has some stress when it comes to crowds and even more stress when he has to perform for said crowd
That last reason there, that is what made me the most proud. THAT is why I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as I watched him run down the track toward the finish line. THAT was one of the most prized moments I have ever had the pleasure of watching in my eleven year old’s life. And I have tears in my eyes now as I tell you about it.
I am ALWAYS worried when Isaiah has to meet new people. If you know him, then you know he is awesome and sweet and his quirks just make him who he is, but if you’ve never met him you might think he is just quirky. Well, he is quirky, but it’s an awesome quirky! I was a ball of nerves and trying my best not to be a helicopter (I really have a hard time with this when it comes to Isaiah…he is no stranger to being bullied and it makes me sick to think it could happen on my watch). I am proud to say I did not helicopter, I walked the track and watched from a distance as he listened to his coach and took direction and practiced and talked to other kids. AND I MIGHT have had a silly grin on my face the entire time. If you know anyone who has any form of high functioning autism, you will totally understand. If not, I simply cannot put into words the amazing feeling, but I thanked God for this day and Isaiah’s courage.
Back to this particular meet; thanks to the Oklahoma weather we had missed practice AND had not been able practice solo. I KNOW he isn’t the fastest kid and I KNOW he likes to slow to a jog at the end and I was SO afraid he would be sad and discouraged if he came in last. I mean, why couldn’t he calm my nerves a little by participating in the standing long jump in which he does SO well and wouldn’t be discouraged by a low ranking? Well, because he LOVES the softball throw so he chose the throw instead of the jump and that is perfectly fine and a choice he is plenty old enough to make. AND this, my friends, is when I realized I was making Isaiah’s track about yours truly…oops.
So he started with the softball throw. He gets three throws and after the first I saw his coach give him some pointers to improve his distance and technique. Second and third throw go off without a hitch. I don’t know how far he threw because I never got the stats, but if you ask me, he may have thrown 50 yards (I exaggerate, but I am his mom…that’s my job in certain situations). Realistically he threw 25-30 yards so not too bad, but the race was next and my jaw was chattering a little and I was overcome with emotions. I felt this way not only because I was worried about him not doing well, but also because I was so stinking proud of this kid. The last race he came in 25 out of 27 and this kid didn’t let that discourage him. In fact, he didn’t care because he had FUN! We kept talking about doing his best and making sure he had fun with it and that those two things were the most important. .
So we go to the finish line and I tried…I really tried to take a picture, but somehow all I got was a picture of the stands (could be because I was cheering him on). He did it. He ran, he had fun, he did his best, and he finished strong. He wasn’t first or even in the middle. He was close to last, but he ended with a smile. If I never have another parenting win moment in my entire life, all will be well. Remember in the kid intro when I said something about being patted on the back by God? Well, this was another one of those moments. I didn’t cry, but I’d be lying if I said there were no tears in my eyes. This kid really just loves to run and he doesn’t give a hoot if he comes in dead last. I just see so much spirit in him when he runs, it is a joyous thing for him which makes is a joyous thing to watch (AND a humbling thing too).
So, the verse I am going to share tonight is going to be a bit different and I will tell you why. SO often we get caught up in life and worry about the competition and worry that our child won’t be best. What happens when they don’t live up to our definition of doing well (sports, school, whatever)? We get discouraged; push harder, and then they grow not to love whatever it is they are doing. I was worried about Isaiah’s placement, not him! He humbled me so much, showing me that he simply did not care what others think or say (SEE, there can be silver linings in ASD’s) SO to that I quote this from Colossians, from the instructions for a Christian household: “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21 NIV). I NEEDED that…I was nervous that he would be discouraged because he wasn’t first but he just did his best and THAT was more than enough.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved” (1Corinthians 10:31-32 NIV).