Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zen Swimming

We had talked about swimming for some time. Dear Son was in summer school and they would swim two days of the week. Swim days were his favorite and everyone who knew Dear Son knew exactly how much he loved swimming. The bus driver would tell me how Dear Son would stay in the water until the very last minute. He was the first one in the water and the last one out. Oh, how I wished Dear Son could tell me that.

They had “Parent Visitation” at the pool however I was not able to attend that day because I was working. One day after school, Dear Son and I were talking and I suggested that I’d like to come to the pool, to see him swim. His eyes lit up and a big smile came across his face. I decided to call his teacher right then, to ask permission, as a courtesy. Dear Son listened as I made the call. He was so happy.

We talked about the day I would be visiting the pool. That morning Dear Son was so excited. The day was as hot as could be. I arrived at the pool and there seemed to be a million kids there. There were wheelchairs there, although not nearly as many as in years past. As I searched for Dear Son, one of the aides in the classroom signaled to me across the pool, pointing towards someone, which I later learned was Dear Son.

First I saw his teacher, then one of the aides and finally the aide that was holding Dear Son. Dear Son, with his tanned face to the sun, lie in his arms, floating on the water, oblivious to the fact that I was there. I tried talking to him but he was “in the zone.” He didn’t blink or acknowledge me in any way. It was quite disappointing. He had no idea I was there.

That is sometimes the case with these kids. Your experience with them is never quite what you hoped it would be. In the past, when I would visit Dear Son at the pool, he would be smiling ear to ear the minute I arrived. But today, he just lie there, totally relaxed. When he got home that evening, I told him I came to visit him at the pool. He was just as excited. I teased him that he never even saw me and he just smiled. We looked up at the fake Olympic gold medal that hung on his IV pole, the one they had given him at school. Dear Son was so proud of that medal. He couldn’t have been more proud than if he had really won it. I thought of the irony of it all. We talked some more. I told him that I was very proud of him and that I couldn’t swim at all. I told him I was amazed that he was in the deep water. I thought about the fact that it wasn’t very often that he was better than anyone at these kinds of things but the swimming, well, that was his forte. As the summer progressed, Dear Son continued to have seizures, which we later learned was occurring almost twenty four hours a day. We didn’t learn that until the week after summer school ended. I imagined then that the swimming was much more than floating in the pool. Perhaps that was his way to combat what was occurring in his body. And the fact that he could even get to such a place, of total relaxation, had to good for him. I never in a million years thought that he could relax to that degree, almost as if he were meditating and be so relaxed.

Summer is over now, but I still left his Olympic Gold Medal on the IV pole. And for that, I am so proud of him. To see him totally relaxed and enjoying something so much, is the best part of being his mother and the best part of our summer. Move over Michael Phelps, you have nothing on Dear Son, at least in my heart.


Anonymous said...

It's amazing how much peace water can bring to someone. I love the closeup shot of Dear son in the pool. You can definitely see that's he's just letting it be... love that!

HeatherK said...

To know in hindsight just how soothing that must have been to him. Adding to that the joy of sharing that with you. As the weather turns cool, a sweet summer memory like this is just the thing. I love that he's a better swimmner than you. ;-)

Sarabeth said...

That was a lovely story. Thank you for showing us the beauty of the moment.

Surgeon in my dreams said...

Mom, just a thought, but do you think Son would feel comfortable in a waterbed?

I've slept in one for 30 years now.

Ijust wondered if the gentle motion would help him to reach that place of relaxation. Plus, their warm.

Dream Mom said...

Surg in my Dreams-Nice idea about the waterbed. I am sure he might like it. Dear Son has and needs a hospital bed though so we'll have to stick with that.

Jessica mommy to Alex/ RTS said...

I love this post! What a sweet boy your dear son is!

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