by Jeanie, Reinventing Mommy
It is Sunday morning. I’m leaning back in my chair, feet dangling carelessly in the pool as my hair begins to stick to the back of my neck. I lift my head towards the sky to soak in the warm glow of the sun as it kisses my forehead. Under my watchful eye, my boy plays along the water’s edge. His squeals of delight watching the water pour are bubbling up beneath the surface. His hands flutter and his mouth drops open in an expression of joy that is so uniquely Jack. I find my mouth creasing into a smile and find myself in the midst of heaven on earth.
Summer is approaching with a ferocity that seems to be a fact of life in the South. This time of year, I am taken back to my childhood and the beautiful days of all-too-short summers spent at the beach.
Both sets of my grandparents had beach houses – one on the Florida coast and the other on one of the Georgia barrier islands. Summers were spent between these two locales embracing all of the sweetness of the season.
I felt so at home on the beach. As a child, I was an avid body boarder. I planned excursions down to the beach based on the tidal schedules. The freedom felt when gravity releases you, as the waves take over, is simply indescribable. It feels like flying.
I have not gone body boarding in years. In fact, to do so would probably result in a performance more worthy of America’s Funniest Home Videos than ESPN. Another thing I have not done in years is take a vacation to the beach. In fact, I haven’t been on vacation since Jack was born. The closest I have come to the coast since his birth is when I go visit my Dad about once a year.
This bothers Brian very little. Growing up, his family’s travels took them all over the place, thus they never developed the same loyalty to a particular location or setting. When it comes to the beach, I think Brian could take it or leave it.
This year promises to be no exception to our hiatus from vacationing. My husband will be going up to visit family up North, but Jack still has a self-imposed travel ban placed upon us as a family. The logistics of traveling with Jack, from the change in routine to rescheduling all of his therapies to working around ESY to the questions of “How do we get there with our sanity?” to finding food that he’ll eat and a place where he will sleep, it all wears down on us when we even attempt to plan it.
So, what is a family to do? Or, in reality, what is this mama to do?
The answer came in Jack’s Easter basket this year – an inflatable swimming pool. Sure, it’s just big enough for Jack and my feet, but it will do, my friends.
Sunday morning was to be a warm day. A scorcher nearing 88 degrees. For the end of April/early May, that’s hot. To kick off what Mother Nature had decided herself to dub as the unofficial start of summer, I cracked the pool out and warmed up my lungs for what would be an exhausting 30 minutes of inflating the thing.
At least I know my lungs are nice and healthy.
We found a sunny place in the backyard and began to fill the pool. Now Jack loves playing with water, but he’s very anxious when it comes to actually getting in. That’s okay, because this mama has all the time in the world. Sunscreen in hand and a couple of lawn chairs to set poolside, we headed outside for a day of sunshine and water play. We stayed out there all day, only coming inside to eat lunch and dinner and to take a nap. Jack had his usual meltdowns and transitioning problems that seem to come standard with the lack of structure on the weekends these days, but for a few moments out by that pool, as he was watching the water fall back into the pool from his cup, there was nothing but peace and tranquility.
It was blissful.
Jack loved the water. The introduction of a few bubbles to the party was what it took to finally coax him into the water, but he refused to bend down or do anything to get himself too wet. You’ve gotta love those sensory issues.
He played and enjoyed watching the water pour from a cup back into the pool over and over again. Sure it was a stimmy kind-of activity, but he was enjoying a few moments of peace and sunshine.
As was I.
For a few moments, I could almost imagine myself back at the beach. The sand warming my toes and the waves gently lapping my feet. The heat of the sun enveloping me. The feeling of letting go. Yet, this was better than the beach could be this year, because my boy was there enjoying it with me.
Later in the day, after I had fixed myself a lovely frozen beverage, I flopped my feet into the water and thought about how perfect that moment was. My little boy seemed to be having a good time. I was relaxed. I leaned my head back and decided that the little “resort” I had created would suit me just fine.
Jeanie is a former engineer turned stay-at-home wife and mom to an amazing 3-year old little boy on the autism spectrum. After her only child was diagnosed at 24-months with autism and an alphabet soup of special needs, she began to write about life parenting a very young child with special needs with honesty, optimism, and as always, a touch of humor. You can find Jeanie at her regular blog, Reinventing Mommy (http://reinventingmommy.blogspot.com/).