“What are you doing this weekend?”, one of my delightful friends inquired. I responded that we were headed to Elizabethtown to watch Bailey participate in a basketball tournament to qualify for state. She was enthusiastic in her response of how exciting that is and she wishes Bailey luck. I smiled and responded, “Thank you.” I walked to my car feeling guilty for not being overjoyed at the prospect of spending my Saturday watching him play yet another game. That is my truth, friends. Let me explain.
For fifteen years, I have cheered, made sure he had medical clearance to participate, straps for his glasses when he wore them. I have encountered adults with their own agenda who made the whole vibe less than warm and fuzzy, traveled to places off the beaten path for his competitions along with trying to fake my enthusiasm for yet another ribbon or medal. Yes, I am aware this isn’t about me and that Bailey still gets enjoyment with participating and being with his friends. He gets exercise and has the best coaches who volunteer their time for these kids. I have learned to stay clear of certain people. I have asked for others to escort him to these games and tournaments, so that I can have a reprieve. Because I have learned that this is a marathon, not a sprint and that it is okay not to go to every single game or tournament.
But then there are those golden moments where a kid scores for the first time ever, or when a reluctant player finds joy in a game that he was fearful to play, and my favorite is the pure look of contentment and happiness on my son’s face. Then there are the coaches, my spouse included, that give their time and talent to help these kids achieve a feeling of inclusion. These are the moments that inspire. These are the moments that should be at the forefront instead of those who forget why we are here.
My life is a series of monotonous occasions. While people are trying to hold on to these moments with their children, my scenery will not change. I will grow older still caring for my child. It isn’t black and white when you have a child with special needs. And this isn’t a blog to solicit sympathy, this is simply the reality. So, I will go today with a smile on my face, sit in the stands with some of the people that understand where I am coming from, and cheer for victory. After all, I believe we have room for another ribbon or medal.