I took a step back today to watch Matthew....to really, really watch him and to see him....openly, with a heart that is open, and eyes that view him as everyone else.....you know what? he is a pretty magical kid. The world unites around him.....I have no idea why, but there is an energy that he gives off.....something that makes him stand apart from all others.
He is the kind of person you want to see succeed. I think a big part of it is that he treats the world with passion. If he meets you on the street right now you find out that his birthday is coming up. You know what our plans are for the week. BUT, he also asks something about YOU. He wants to find something out so that he can forge a quick connection.
For an hour tonight 30 or so people watched him on the high dive. Everyone cheering, offering support- offering an incentive, trying to get him to jump. For an hour, he never jumped. For 30 people, it never mattered.
He climbed up to the high dive and told me "i'm going to do it". After 10 minutes a guard was called over to help him get down.
he climbed up again, and said with conviction, "I'm going to do it", and again after 10 minutes he was helped down.
Finally he climbed up again- this time there were incentives galore- every guard at the pool was watching him. Kids ranging in age from 6-15 were watching him. Families were watching him. I heard more than one parent say, "i know you want to watch, but we have to go , it's getting late" and still they stayed.
The head lifeguard jumped in the pool and spent 15 minutes in the cold water encouraging him......each person at the pool had their own unique form of encouragement.
" it's not hard, just close your eyes"
"just run to the end and fall in"
"keep your eyes on the flag"
"I'll count backwards from 10...9...."
My boy is petrified of the drains. He has been scared of drains in pools on and off for years. The height doesn't bother him. The jump doesn't bother him. He cannot get past an irrational fear of drains. And that is completely ok, because in his own time he will again conquer this fear.
As I worried that people would get annoyed, I had the presence of mind tonight to look around, no one seemed annoyed. Everyone had hope that Matthew would conquer this fear tonight. Everyone hoped we would see him jump....heck, I even hoped we would just see him fall so he could see that there was no reason for fear!
As he left the pool a guard shouted- 'you'll try again tomorrow" and he will....because 30 people believe in him...and one day, he will believe in himself! and he will believe once again that drains are safe!
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!