In mid-March we had a warm week that got everyone jazzed about swimming!
I called for reinforcements, and headed to the pool with four kids, and Auntie L to get some energy out and break up the day.
Auntie L was on Bear duty, which ended up being mostly Goldfish dispensing duty- a task that kept Bear safe and happy!!! Beasty had on a puddle jumper, though she usually keeps to the top step. Booger is a strong swimmer, who stays mostly where he can reach the bottom. So that left me on Obie duty. Towards the end of our time at the pool, everyone was gaining confidence, but they were also getting tired. In one especially boisterous middle of the pool moment, I had my back to Booger and was helping Obie remember that if he kicked and kept his head down he would make it safely to the steps. I felt tugging on my arm and caught Booger just in time to help him from struggling. I assure you he was not drowning, nor was he remotely close to drowning, but to his 6 year old mind- he was seconds from meeting Jesus. In his relief and frustration he yelled “You only ever care about Obie!!!” Gut punch.
Here’s the awful truth- in our efforts to catch Obie up, our attention has been diverted. We help the kid who might drown, and we sometimes have our backs to the kid who can swim.
Since Booger was 9 months old he has been fiercely independent and quick to catch on to things. He has learned to read at this point in his kindergarten year, does math in his head for fun, and has boatloads of confidence and friends. He is athletic, active, and a riot to talk to. He is also incredibly sarcastic, which I say with a mix of immense pride and a splash of regret 😂
He is also insanely sensitive. He has a keen sense of fair and is unafraid to point out when he feels he has been slighted. I have to be so intentional with my time with him, and sometimes that takes gentle or not so gentle reminders.
Today, as we were dropping him off to school for handwriting tutoring (yes, even typical kids have fine motor challenges) I told him to have fun during field day! And he shrugged and said it wouldn’t be fun without me.
You see, today is a therapy day for Obie, so unless I ask for help for the millionth time this week, I just couldn’t leave. Fast forward to a call from the nurse because Booger got sunscreen in his eye, and I just couldn’t let him believe my back was to him yet again.
I left Obie with his therapist, packed up Beasty and Bear and headed to our first field day.
He saw Beasty first, looked for me, and his eyes said it all. Thanks for not letting me drown.
I can’t stress this enough- it isn’t about me or what I did. So please don’t tell me I’m awesome at this whole mom thing – I promise you, out of embarrassment and in effort to avoid real emotions, I will just respond with snark or explain to you that I snapped at him within minutes of having him home from school. What I am saying is that this gig is hard and comes with so much internal conflict about whether I can parent three neurotypical kids and one neurodiverse kid without sending all four to therapy as adults.
I am also repeating what a dear friend has been speaking into my life for nearly 16 months. We are all just doing the best we can, and remember to be kind to yourself. I’m doing the best I can, and in that moment Booger knows that I see him, too.