“I have a crazy idea.” I hear the intriguing words spout from my husband’s lips. “Let’s take all the kids water skiing tomorrow.” Before I could answer yes, too many scenarios shuffle through my head to focus on just one, so I calm the chaotic shuffling and agree to his crazy request.
Water skiing means 45 minutes in the car each way with 4 kids all under 6 including Charlie who has Autism and doesn’t do well with new surroundings. For whatever reason, I feel daring. Will and I devise our exit strategy in case Charlie has a meltdown, while I pack as many suckers and cars that will fit in the small space of my bulging backpack.
The drive is pleasant thanks to the DVD player in the car. As we park, I gulp down any doubt that today will be successful. We made it to the lagoon without incident anyways; that’s a success. Will looks at me; instantly, I recognize the look. It’s game time, and we got this!
“This is going to be good!” my optimism seeps through my words, masking my stress and trepidation. “It’s either going to be amazing or a disaster.” I nod as Will’s comment chips away at my positivity. This seems to be the trend with our adventures: great or tragic, no in-between.
We all pile into the boat with our family friends, my children’s pseudo-grandpa with his daughter and son-in-law, both who have special needs as well. Charlie starts to get antsy but settles in fairly quickly which shocks me. Another success! The weight on my shoulders feels lighter and lighter with each little success.
Charlie is loving the boat ride. “Go fast!” he continues to request. My face beams with excitement, and my rigid body finally relaxes. The day is already a success! Shocked by this blessing, I take it all in, breathing in the warm salty air as the slight breeze graces my arms, and the hot sun hugs my once rigid, tense body. This moment is amazing. I have found Heaven; little do I know, I am in for an even sweeter, more glorious surprise.
With each lull in the boat ride, my body begins to tense, on guard for a meltdown, but the meltdown never comes. Pushing every envelope, Will and I both suggest that Charlie try to ski. I sense the hesitation from everyone, but what can it hurt? The day is already proving to be wonderful.
His solid, 3 year old body catapults into the water. It’s cold on his sun warmed skin. I sense his hesitation, so I assure him that it’s okay. Charlie loves the water, so he obliges. We anxiously wait in the boat while Will pulls Charlie on the ski along the sandy shore. After a few minutes on the beach, we attempt the real deal.
The first attempt proves futile, but I’m determined now. Silently praying while loudly cheering Charlie on, I notice the doubt in Will’s face. My excitement scales back a few notches; if my optimistic husband is doubtful, I might be overly-zealous here.
With my phone in hand, I’m ready to snap a shot, any shot of Charlie, attempting to water ski, but what happens next brings tears to my eyes and a burst to my heart. Entrenched in my determination to get any shot, I realize: HE’S DOING IT! CHARLIE IS WATER SKIING!
My 3 year old son, who has Autism…the same child who was denied therapy less than one year ago due to his severe behavior…he is water skiing! I choke back every tear and overflow with excitement!
My son is amazing! Daily, he suffers from the debilitating grips of Autism, but he is doing this and loving it! I am so amazed and shocked. It feels like a dream. I nod at our friend who has raised his special needs daughter. Both of us choked up, we share a moment of mutual love and respect for this rough journey and the reward of this glorious success unfolding before our eyes!
Please share your success in the comments, even if you feel it is small! If it’s a success for you and your child, it’s a win in my book!