You would think with all the new things our family has undertaken since The Bird came along eight years ago, I would be over it by now.
But I'm just not.
I think part of the reason is that as a special needs parent, you work so dadgum hard to get your kid in some sort of routine that when you finally manage to get one in place, you're petrified that something is going to come along and mess things up and you'll have to start all over again.
And if you've been a special needs parents for longer than, say, a minute, you know this is going to happen. And happen again. And again. And again....
I also think that with these kiddos, so many changes are out of our control that a desire to maintain the status quo is simply a survival mechanism.
But something new always comes along.
There are therapies to try. Diet changes to make. School programs to tweak. Teachers and aides that come and go. Goals to fine-tune. Visual schedules to adjust. Discipline techniques to modify. Doctors to visit. Medications to consider. Educational approaches to research. Meetings to attend. Respite opportunities. Camps. Playgroups.
The list is endless.
Even when a great opportunity for Lily presents itself, I often find myself dragging my feet because I know it means changing our routine yet again.
So when Lily turned 8 and we discovered that she could participate in Special Olympics, I didn't really give it a thought at all.
One, because it would be yet another thing to add to our routine.
But mostly and more honestly, because it felt like yet another step towards admitting that Lily belongs in the special needs community. That we are moving even further towards acceptance, a positive thing to be sure. But that same acceptance still comes at a high price for us - another little piece of our hopes and dreams being chipped away.
First time on the track.
But with the sweet and patient encouragement of some friends, we decided to give Special Olympics Track a try.
Well. Sort of warming up.
So Birdie is officially a runner. A 50 meter runner, to be more specific.
Well, a 50 meter runner/walker/hopper/skipper/giggler, to be even more specific.
First 50 Meter.
And with an entourage, no less.
Typically, I run alongside Lily to keep her going and Ryan is waiting at the finish line to keep her focused on where she's headed. Of course, this is not including all the parents, coaches, and fellow athletes lining the track, cheering, clapping and shouting encouragement.
If Ryan is crouched down at the finish line, Lily often ends her race by turning backwards and plopping her booty onto his bent knee.
Just like all the Olympic greats, amirite?
Trying the softball toss. Not interested. At. All.
So I wouldn't say that Lily loves running.
And I wouldn't say that Ryan and I have fully adjusted to the fact that we are there, that we are in Special Olympics.
And of course, it's still new which means I'm still nervous.
But pretty soon, it'll just be another part of our routine.
That ever-changing, fluctuating, shifting, fickle "routine".
The reward at the end of the race.