Thursday, March 18, 2010

Looking back...

As I am writing these stories of Peter's life with Special Olympics, I started thinking as to the "why" I insisted that Peter keep going to the practices and the events. It definitely did not appear to be on his list of top ten favorites to do in life. Running out the backdoor and hiding at the neighbors, now that was his thing, not running between two narrow lines to a finish line. And, what is it about swimming that he absolutely refuses to get into a pool these days, when I know he can swim and once in the pool, loves the experience.
These are and were the days, I just wished for one second, Peter could come out with a sentence explaining his needs and wants. Knowing this was not happening, I guess I became the decision maker and based these choices on my past experiences with Sara and Mike. Now, as you know, one never really receives the book on good parenting. Oh sure, there is much information out there, although when my kids were little, really only Dr. Spock was the authority...and may I say that was quite limited. And there was no book or talk show on how to raise a child with special needs. No, those directions came only from the heart and instincts, guessing all the way.
In retrospect, my life and Peter's may have been much quieter, less stressful if I had not pushed the S.O. and baseball occurrences in his life. Would it have been a good choice? I do not know, but what I do know, is now, at the age of 22, Peter likes going to bowling and he does not run into the parking lot in the middle of the game to get away...maybe the bathroom, and maybe the soda machine, but the days of running to the car and refusing to come back are hopefully over. And, Peter does run in Track and Field, although, how he finishes is always a guess, and I know Forest Gump could be the winner if he put on his best shoes. Swimming, I am ever hopeful!
When Peter was still little, post Waismann days, after I stopped my search of finding a diagnosis, I decided to take him back several years later, just as an update, and see if any new research had been done in his disease or syndrome or whatever name we give it. The doctor, after spending several hours with Peter, told me that Peter was doing much better that he expected. Words I still embrace.
So, my personal philosophy which I applied to Sara and Mike, is that it is good to be involved in sports or any other activity that will encourage friendship and that feeling of being involved that would support a good self concept. My other philosophy was that I would treat Peter the same as I did Sara and Mike. So, was that why I began the many Mexican standoff's on bleachers and parking lots? Is that why I spent many occasions having mini pity parties..or was that peter parties behind close doors, in bowling alley bathrooms, in my car wishing Peter would just cooperate? Looking back, I would not do it any different. I did what I thought was best for Peter at the time. I had already gotten over the whole embarrassment thing, and when I wondered what other people were thinking, I replaced it with the can not make any comments on this behavior as you are not walking in my shoes. I had my reasons, and personally, in my mind, they were good reasons.
Would I have the stamina today? Probably not..but that is why Peter was given to me, as a gift, at a time in my life when I had extra heaping of patience and stubbornness, and a strong will to "we will survive this". And, every triumph, no matter how small, was a moment of celebration, and with Peter...we had many of those moments...and, you probably know this by now.....these were free....priceless as the commercial would say...and there is nothing like this feeling!

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