Monday, October 14, 2013

Family: Expectation vs. Reality

When Timothy was born, Jack and I did not know at the time, he would be our first, middle and last child all rolled into one. Sometimes, I wish he had a sibling to socialize with and bounce ideas off of.  He often would mention wanting to have a brother or sister and I just explained that we were focused solely on him and wanted to do the best we could to raise him well.  As it turned out, our decision was a good one for several reasons.  Timothy needs our 100% attention and I am not sure we could afford a second child.  In this age of health care uncertainty, Timothy's medical care as far as his mental health is concerned (i.e. therapist or psychiatrist visits) are NOT covered by insurance (prescriptions are but some even with a copay can be hundreds of dollars).  His team of doctors are "not in the plan" so we get no reimbursement.  Unfortunately, my expectation is for his mental health care to be 100% covered but in reality is its not.  Almost on a daily basis, there is a moment where my expectations do not align correctly with reality.  It is completely my issue but when I want so desperately for Timothy to be like other kids, fit in, or be cured - it can be devastating to be hit head on by reality.  This was no more noticed when I took him to his first swimming clinic recently at our local YMCA.  Jack and I have exposed Timothy to basketball, soccer, tennis, golf and now swimming.  We are attempting to see if swimming can be something individualized, yet team oriented that can allow him a positive outlet for all of his energy.  At the clinic, I knew almost immediately that he was not like any of the other young boys and girls.  He sat off to the side, played with my smart phone and only sporadically participated in the dry land activities that included presentations by two former Olympic swimmers.  While sitting quietly to listen to the life stories of elite athletes may be interesting for the adults in the room, all the kids were having some trouble sitting still and remaining focused.  It's to be expected.  At the time, I was not sure Timothy was listening.  He did ask some good questions but he also was a bit distracting to the others in the group.  As I sat off the side, I wondered should I intervene, tell him to pipe down or sit still - well yes and I did so several times as quietly as I could so as not to draw more attention to Timothy.  All he wanted to do was swim - forget the dry land (with all due respect to the Olympians of course).  Finally, his moment to swim came.  But, shockingly and through bad planning on my part, it was Timothy's first time in the cold pool at the Y.  The warm pool where he has been to several team practices is several degrees warmer.  He jumped in only to gasp reflex with chills.  To give him credit, he swam two laps but then simply got up and out of the pool and wanted to go to the warm pool.  His ability to absorb those differences while in that new group setting just was not possible.  I had no other choice but to let him go to the warm pool to finish the clinic in his own way.  Once again, he was different.  I was sobbing off to the side of the pool deck trying so hard not to let my emotions appear in public.  I wanted him to enjoy himself, learn something and be inspired.  As we left the Y and drove home, I cried more (you see over my life time, I have perfected the driving and crying move - **disclaimer - I do not recommended it**).  I got home and went for a long walk.  The exercise outlet for me is so critical to my own self-care.  After I came back from my walk, I heard Timothy telling Dad about the Olympians he met and that one of them swam with spiders.  Yes, a story that one of them told the kids involved spiders.  At that point, I realized he was listening but in his own active way.

PS The next day, we had a great end to the day. Timothy ate grilled chicken (not breaded) but the real deal for dinner.  He actually consumed some healthy and pure protein.  I think if we can get him to eat more protein, the better things will be overall.

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