Saturday, July 30, 2011

GBE2 Weekly Challenge

My blogging group issued a challenge nearly a week ago: Writer's choice between summertime or my favorite thing. Usually, I am right on top of these challenges...well, almost. But, not this week. Paired together, those two topics conjure images of rainbows and daisies, of ice cream cones and lazy days.

Given my life, those topics just weren't working for me. Summertimes are incredibly difficult for our family, as I've mentioned in my blog before. Believe me, my friends, The Mom Cave is NOT a place for Debbie Downers!!!!

My favorite thing? Duh. Sleep. Covered that here. Next!

Sorry, GBE, I just haven't been feeling this!!

But, then, the other day during a visit to our older son's psychiatrist, things changed. With our younger son in tow, I arrived in the waiting room just before my appointment to discuss our older son's medications. These appointments aren't the most fun for our younger son as I ask him to stay in the waiting room with his electronics. I just don't want I'm to hear some of the brutal honest things we say about his brother during those appointments, and I don't have the luxury of a sitter.

The door to the doctor's office opened, and the client before me walked into the waiting room at the conclusion of her appointment-- it was my great friend Ellie! Without hesitation, she took our son with her back to her house, inviting him to swim in their pool until I was finished.

Ellie's daughter has special needs, and a few years ago, she was awarded a pool from a local organization called The Dream Factory. Having a pool in her yard not only provided her with much sensory input, but it also gave her the ability and desire to stay at home, together with her family, rather than driving in the car to various places in town.

Ellie's family is incredibly generous with their pool, inviting anyone who is interested the luxury to swim. My children don't get to do that. As a sibling to autism, my younger son stays indoors pretty much once his brother is home because I can't handle the two of them out together. And, as a child with complex sensory needs himself, our younger son could really benefit from the calming effect of the water!

He swam for two hours, and when I decided to take him home for some lunch, Ellie suggested that I come back over later when our older son came home from school.

Um. Uhhhhhh. Silence. Hesitation. I hadn't thought of returning. Can I handle him here? If I can pull it off, he might really enjoy it. Besides, what else am I going to do with his day, lock him up inside our house?

I took Ellie up on her kind offer, not sure what the afternoon would bring but willing to give it a shot.

In a few hours, I returned to Ellie's house with our two sons. Our younger son was thrilled to see a bunch of people happily playing about the yard and in the pool. Summer was in full swing in that back yard!

I was nervous. Would our older son be turned off by all the people? Would we just spend our time searching Ellie's house for her vacuums? Would he refuse to get out of the car?

No sooner had these thoughts entered my head than they left. For, our older son jumped out of the car and bound for the back yard. He wasted no time taking off his clothes and shoes so that he could get at the pool. Nervous mom raced after him. He's a wild card. I had no idea how safe he would be.

However, for the next couple hours, in that happy back yard, what I was able to experience was pure joy. Our older son, showing his ornery side, actually enjoyed all the kids in the pool. He pushed people off of the platform. He even tried to dunk them once in the pool. Where had he learned this? And, seriously, that boy did not stop smiling and LAUGHING--laughing a laugh that came deep from his belly--the entire time he was in that pool. He swam to Ellie--does he even know her?--and jumped in her arms, initiating play.

He was a boy having fun in the pool in the summer.

Here is is, my friends. Here is my favorite thing. My boys were happy. They were laughing. Their disabilities had washed away with the water, and they were kids having fun in the summertime.

I would trade a thousand hours of sleep to see that again.

Usually, summer is composed of a string of distasteful weeks which I work hard to endure. Yet, for some glorious time, I was able to witness a bit of Heaven on Earth.

That memory is now my favorite thing, and I will think of it each year as summertime rolls around.

Thank you Ellie!


  1. What a wonderful experience for you all, Amy. I could feel your joy and happiness as you watched your boys play in the water.

  2. It sounds like a great time for everyone. The perfect escape for all.

  3. This made my day. Kids being happy and carefree is something we might take for granted...unless we are like you, and we know better. I'm so glad that you and the boys had a great summer day.

  4. You have your trials. We have our grandson who we have raised since he was eight, had special needs, and developed mental health problems at 15 years. You get round things and the family learns to adjust. The younger cousins are brilliant around him and treat him well.


  5. Water is just magic I think, and not just for children. My heart just rose right up in me reading about T laughing.

  6. When Trey was looking me in the eyes and asking to jump, it was magic! The connection was like nothing I have ever felt with him before. I felt like the lucky one!
    The other night my daughter, Teale was laughing hysterically with her brother, sister and her brother's girlfriend. Nothing lifts my spirits more than hearing her laughter. My husband often expressed "laughter is the best medicine." I so get this and I believe families like ours appreciate those simple moments immensely!

  7. This is beautiful. Heaven on earth. I'm glad that the day was full of joy for you and both your boys.

  8. Oh I can see you and your face by the pool when this happened. What a great post. Reading the Mom Cave here...

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  10. Amy, the memory of ONE fantastic summer day...excuse me one moment, I need to count my blessings again. I so admire you and am so aware of how lucky your boys are. You are just an angel of a Mom living in a mom cave and sharing your joys and heartbreak with us. ((Hugs)) and all my very best wishes to you for a million more days just like that one! <3

  11. What a great post--and great memories!! Cheers! Jenn

  12. :')) I wish many more days like these for you and your boys <3