Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Neither Here Nor There

The Special Olympics provided Nic and me with quite an education this weekend.

For my part, I saw all aspects of human nature, the good, the bad, and the ugly. For every one person who seemed to miss the point of being there, there seemed to be a hundred who *got* it.

Remembering my boy sitting in the van, on the way to the buses, his hoodie pulled over his Phillies cap, so that all you could see of his face were his two big, wide-open green eyes. He knew about as much about what to expect as I did.

I treated my athletes with dignity, and they paid me back in kind. They taught Nic what it meant to belong to a team. And he, fortunately, is a quick study.

He won two gold medals. Coming off the podium twice, he removed his medals each time, and each time placed his gold around my neck, telling me, "I won this for you, mom."

Dad reported that on the way to the bus on Monday, he became pensive and quiet, almost, dad noted, as if he were girding himself for battle.

He gets his differences, I told his new neuro yesterday. He doesn't quite fit in at school, and he didn't exactly fit in with the Special Olympics, either.

The neuro looked at Nic and told him, "Really, kid, you are one of a kind. Special. Different. In all good ways."

"Oh yeah?" Nic murmured. His catchall response for when he's not sure what's expected of him.

And yet. He still has friends. And he knows his family loves him. So despite his growing realization that he's not like everyone else, he is okay with who he is.

Because he will find his place in the world. Just like I did.

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