For as long as I can remember, and even before that, the beach community that we spend our summers in have field day events on Thursday mornings at 11am. I have fond memories of participating in these as a child, so as my kids have gotten older, it's been fun for me to have them to participate as well.
Despite the fact that there are certain physical activities that are difficult for Colin to do, we try really hard to include Colin in as many things as we can that any other "typically" developing child would participate. I don't want Colin to EVER feel that he can't do something.
So on our last Thursday at the beach for the summer, when the announcement was made, I brought the kids over to participate in the field day events. Colin listened to the instructions and then walked over with his sister to the "waiting" area until it was time for his turn.
Colin loves sports so I knew that as long as he was in the mood and not tired, he would want to participate.
Colin sat patiently on the boardwalk and waited until it was his turn to line up for the different events.
To be honest, most of the activities that the other kids Colin's age were doing, he was unable to do, right now. However, I helped him participate so that he could.
Every time we would line up, there was a little boy who was at least a year older that would make comments to me about Colin's inabilities. "He can't do that." "He doesn't know how." "He's not doing it right." "Are you sure he's old enough?" "He shouldn't do this if he doesn't know how." At first I brushed off some of these comments because he was just a little boy.
I explained to the little boy that sometimes it's harder for some kids to do things than others.
I explained to him that although it was difficult for Colin to do some of the activities, he could do it. I told him that sometimes we need extra help and that was ok because eventually, with help, you could do those same things all by yourself.
Last year, I had to hold Colin's hands and hope that he would bear some weight in the running race since he wasn't walking yet and didn't even want to with assistance.
This year, he did the race running as fast as he could, all by himself (with a little encouragement from more than just me!).
My little boy may not have gotten first, but he tried as hard as he could.
He loved every minute of it.
I will NEVER tell Colin he can't do something. Instead, Chris and I are going to push Colin to do everything he could ever want to do.
Because he can do whatever he sets his mind to...