Friday, March 18, 2011

What 'Good' Looks Like

Track began for Nic this week, and much to my surprise, he is looking forward to his first meet this weekend. Considering what a hard sell the first practice was, I deem this a success, no matter how long he lasts with it.

Honestly, I am skeptical; the coach, while patient, may or may not have already written Nic off. I put on my running shoes and ran with them last night--and beat Nic easily in the 100 and 200.

He's out of shape; this much I knew. That I am in better shape than he is scares the crap out of me. BUT, I figure if absolutely nothing else, this will be a good tri-weekly workout for the three of us.

And I will try to get us running in the off days, too.

But thinking about Nic this week in the context of the bigger world, I find myself wondering; am I deluded? Do I really think he's doing okay?

Because I look at Nic relative to Nic's behavior. I know a good day and a bad day when I see one. But it occurred to me throughout this whole business with the meltdown last week that perhaps my perceptions are skewed.

Because even Nic's good days to some people just look bad.

This is an axle I try not to wind myself around (too tightly). I can't worry about the pitying looks he gets. When I think of the speechless screaming toddler he was; when I think back to the screaming echolaic preschooler he was--and compare these to the awkward but personable young man he is becoming, all I can do is be amazed, and grateful, and thankful, at how far he's come.

But the rest of the world doesn't necessarily see Nic through these eyes. And I also see the same kid they see--one who stammers, one who tries hard to blend in and look like everyone else--yet is painfully aware that he is not like everyone else and does not blend in.

Yes, I do see this.

And right now on this gorgeous spring evening, I hear the sounds of the neighbors outside enjoying the weather. I have the windows open so we can enjoy it, too.

But we are inside. If we went outside, it would just be...awkward.

Which reminds me of another thought I had this week; bullying definitely continues beyond school. I have seen meeting dynamics alter with the presence of one person; I have opted out of situations that leave me at a social disadvantage; I refuse to engage in negative interactions with anyone.

What kind of example is this that I am setting? Is discretion the better part of valor, or am I just tired of rowing upstream?

What do I want for us? Are we there yet?

I think of all the obstacles Nic has had to overcome to get where he is. I think of the fact that he is in Scouts, track, swimming, bowling, aftercare, and soccer. He likes the Phillies and rock climbing and camping. He likes Wii and computer games. And he has friends, even if he doesn't go to school with them.

You know, that looks pretty damn good.

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