Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Where We Belong

with 18 comments

We’re running our own race here

There is nothing like going to a local community event to make you realize that we’re not your average ordinary family.  Today was Sports Day at Cubby’s school.  The 18th annual sports day for this preschool, and most families have been coming here to cheer on the kids for years now.  This was our first time.

Most of the other families have lived around here for a while, and they know each other.  A couple of faces were familiar to me from morning drop-offs, but we were definitely the outsiders.  One mother, hearing my accent, asked where we were from.  Did she mean my country of birth, my husband’s or the kids’?  I could have given her three different answers for a fairly simple question.  We don’t belong here, but you can’t tell that just by looking at us.

Nobody really noticed that Cubby wasn’t trying to win.  He was more focused on what the other kids were doing than what he was supposed to do.  And probably nobody noticed that his muscles tired a little sooner than the other kids his age.  He wasn’t first, he wasn’t last, he did what he needed to do.  He passed.

But those sitting close to us probably soon noticed the five-year-old who is the size of a nine-year-old who was constantly squirming and repeating the same phrases over and over, and twirling hair.  Indeed, when twirling her own hair and mine wasn’t enough, Pudding moved on to the long braids of the lady sitting next to us.  But she doesn’t want to twirl a stranger’s hair, so she asked her name.  “It’s an African name,” replied the lady with a smile.  “Hello African,” responded Pudding.  You can’t make this stuff up!

Pudding doesn’t really pass any more.  Her differences are too apparent, too inappropriate for her perceived age.  Even her actual age.  But if she has realized that, she hasn’t expressed it yet to me.  There is solace in that- I’d rather have my girl unaware than hurting.

This sports day required actual participation from the families too.  There was a mum’s race (I came fourth!), dad’s, grandparents, teachers, brothers, and-yes- sisters.  The groups were divided up into big sisters and little sisters.  Even if Pudding was up against kids her own age or younger, racing isn’t something she really understands.  She has no competitive streak that makes her want to be first to the finish line.  She only “runs” while holding my hand, and even a few years of OT and PT haven’t changed that gallop into a running gait.  There were many reasons for Pudding sitting this one out, but none of them mattered; because I asked if she wanted to run with the other sisters, and she said yes.

She was on her marks, she got ready, but she didn’t go at the same time as the other girls.  I encouraged her and she set off, then twirled around, then galloped on a pace or two.  The race was already won, but for us it wasn’t over.  I could hear the cheering and applause, and I heard it die down.  Pudding wasn’t even half way through.  But she kept going, and I kept cheering.  By the time her gallops took her across the finish line, the next racers were already lined up.

But it didn’t matter.  Pudding was pleased with herself.  I spun her around in victory, and we returned to Cubby and Daddy and we all cheered her on as if she’d just competed in the Olympics, and won.  And right at that moment, I thought about how all of you would be cheering too.  There is a place where we celebrate triumphs that most people don’t even recognize.  Where we don’t stop cheering until every child makes it to the finish line, in their own way, in their own time.  And that is where we belong.

 

 

 

 

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm

18 Responses

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  1. Oh, babe, this: “There is a place where we celebrate triumphs that most people don’t even recognize.” Just:
    YES!

    vardasquashedmom

    July 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm

  2. This is the true meaning of it doesn’t matter if you win or lose. Those days are tough but can be great too. Sounds like you found the great.

    Jennie B

    July 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

  3. Lovely post.
    There you were running your race and I was drinking hot chocolate at Mugg and Bean….. Next Time! :)

    The Bright Side of Life

    July 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm

  4. Beautifully written!

    Kelly Hafer

    July 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm

  5. So perfect and so true.

    Anonymous

    July 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm

  6. You got me with the first sentence. And the final paragraph. We can all fill in our own story in between. Thank you for sharing this. I needed it today!

    Anonymous

    July 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm

  7. I know exactly what you mean when you say that your little one looks almost 10. It’s even harder when your young child looks almost twice their age. When Jacob was 5 he was very big, and it seemed like he should act like a 9 year old too. But that’s impossible with kids like ours. The good thing is to get our kids involved in social activities. And sports is perfect for that reason.

    Jim Reeve

    July 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm

  8. You know, you just made my day. When I read the title of this post, I thought, “yeah, I don’t really feel like we belong anywhere.” Danny sounds so much like Pudding. His differences are so much more noticeable now that he is 9. People just stare and keep a wide berth sometimes.

    But the end of this post made me tear up. We DO belong. It might be to a different community, but it is such a wonderful one. Thank you for reminding me of this!

    Anonymous

    July 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm

  9. Oooh, I love this and that is so true, it’s exactly where we belong.

  10. So well said! Cheering your little ones from here :).

    Danette

    July 23, 2012 at 3:01 am

  11. I *loved* this post, but that last paragraph really had me tearing up. So true…

  12. I’m quite sure you are always where you belong here. Lovely post. Toots is the same. He does not understand competition- and when you think about it – really think about it, maybe they are right.

    solodialogue

    July 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm

  13. Brought tears to my eyes when you said ” There is a place where we celebrate triumphs that most people don’t even recognize”. I remember saying those same words to a doctor 2 years ago when trying to explain what it felt like to have a child that was different.

    Life's travails

    July 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm

  14. Oh dear. Now you have made me cry again. You are so eloquent. I can say with 100% certainty that we would be cheering Pudding right along with you. I love that she finished. I really, truly love that,

    dq74

    July 25, 2012 at 11:22 am

  15. Our “victories” are even sweeter!! We know how hard we have fought for them and how much it takes for our children to even get in the game

    Joeysmo. Y

    July 28, 2012 at 3:36 am

  16. …..and in our community, just getting in IS the win!! Great post!! Way to go all of you!!

    Joeysmo. Y

    July 28, 2012 at 3:37 am

  17. [...] we win just by taking part, our struggles are our triumphs, and we fight well even when we don’t conquer.  And sometimes it is just about hitting and being hit with a pool noodle until you all dissolve [...]

  18. That was just beautiful – thank you for sharing it. Way to go Pudding!

    Suse

    August 1, 2012 at 11:39 am


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