Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Like a Good Neighbor . . . .

This girl is THERE! We have lived in our current home for 12 years, but I knew her before she moved into the neighborhood. Thankfully, in a small city like ours, those of us who have children with special needs tend to find each other FAST. This friend is a transplant from another state whose daughter is a little more than 4 years older than my son. She is one of the spunkiest advocates I have ever met. I was drawn like a magnet to this lady's energy and was amazed at her ability to take life on with such humor and determination. I can’t remember exactly where we met, because it seems like I’ve always known her. It was probably through coming and going at therapy when my son was a toddler.

I can’t say enough about what all she has taught me through the years. I truly cannot imagine where we would be without her relentless spirit that pushes me to “just try it; what’s the worst thing that could happen?”. Her innovative approach to life and parenting and her “out of the box”, outrageous thinking make me smile each time we talk. Once, in desperation and after many unprofitable discussions, (knowing she was right), she threatened a certain school district with chaining herself to the flagpole if they did not try something different for her daughter. Whoa!! And they knew she meant it! She is a kind –hearted, quick thinker who won’t take no for an answer. And she taught me a little about the latter. I needed it because, these days, school meetings can require more perseverance than a training Olympian. Without her coaching, I know that my child would not have had half the opportunities he has had, and I would still be a wimp. (Make that—more of a wimp.)

Happily, she has lived in my same neighborhood for about the last 10 years and our children SO enjoy one another’s company. It was this very woman who encouraged me to put N. (my son) on the swim team. The boy who was more–afraid-of-water-than-anyone-in-the-world –ever-has-been, yes. It mattered not to her that he wouldn’t go in over his knees at the pool without putting the death grip on one of his parent’s throats. He screamed until all eyes were upon us, then the guilty parent would return him to the shore. This went on for 9 long years. And it seemed to be getting worse, not better. I just wanted him to be safe if he ever fell in, and my friend said, “Just put him on the swim team.” Uh, . . . okay . . . .? That’s how she thinks.

Soon after this bodacious suggestion, he made a miraculous attempt to catch a ball in deeper water. He realized he still had all limbs intact, etc., so the self-inflicted, deep water ban was over. Yay! AND, he was put on the swim team. The rest seems so unbelievable—that he loves the water, works out, and has competed in Special Olympics and a few other meets! This sport has been great for him. We are amazed at his muscle tone, strength, and self confidence. Thanks to the Best Neighbor Anyone Could Ask For.

Who would have thought it?? . . . . SHE would.

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