My monkey started aqua therapy this summer. The thing that many people don’t understand is how difficult it is for autistic kids to do this. First, it’s something new and different. That itself is extremely overwhelming. Getting out of a routine is so scary for them. Second, the noise. The echo is a lot and autistic kids get over stimulated. They have sensory overload.
But as my monkey always does, he takes on these challenges and after a few times of going, he is a pro. He now is as confident as a pro-swimmer. It is amazing.
But I want to tell you about another little boy in aqua therapy and my encounter with his family. One of the times I decided to join my husband and monkey during my lunch hour. It was one of those hard days for me. I was thinking about my monkey and how he is almost 4 and still doesn’t talk. I guess it was one of those ‘poor me’ moments.
As I was sitting watching my monkey in the pool, a family came in. Their son was in the stroller. Right away I knew something was wrong. He was about 2 years old, and he wasn’t moving much. But the parents were talking to him, making him smile. And what a beautiful smile he had.
The dad gets in the water with their boy. The mom sits on the bench to watch them and wait for their therapist. As this is happening, an elderly woman comes over and sits next to the mom and they start talking. I am a few chairs away and can hear the entire conversation.
The elderly lady asks her what’s wrong with her boy. All I could think about is ‘What a question?’ When you don’t know someone and you ask something this personal? But the mom wasn’t offended. She stated her son had cerebral palsy. He couldn’t move his body at all other than his face. Then within minutes she starts crying. It took all of my strength not to cry too.
But the elderly lady was extremely kind, sympathetic, and very loving. She was a shoulder for this complete stranger. It was beautiful to watch.
I could hear the mom say how she wishes her son could walk, run, or anything. But she didn’t end there. She started talking about her little boy’s accomplishments. How he is doing better and progressing more and more. She wasn’t drowning in a pity party. She was looking at her cup half full.
Her attitude made me question mine. My son is so energetic. He is always jumping, climbing on things, running. I felt it was my AHA moment. My moment of seeing things differently, on loving and appreciating what I have. Sometimes we need life to wake you up. My monkey is healthy. What more can I ask for?