Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Race Where He Was A Winner

Here it is at after 1 AM and I am up from a not so good dream, can't go back to sleep, so it is time to write about a memory of Taylor that will be a lesson in life for me always.

Taylor is fast! He can run really fast, but is better at long distance running rather than sprinting like Amanda is. He was in the boys and girls club track for a couple of years in Jr. High School and loved it. He did really well. So well that one year he qualified for the Hershey Meet, and he went to the State competition that was held in Eugene Oregon. His age group was from like 12-16 year olds, if I remember correctly.

The big day came. We gathered as a family. At the time we were the host family for two Japanese International Students that were studying at OSU for a year. We invited them to go with us also. We all loaded in the van very early in the morning! We headed for Eugene with high hopes and high spirits. Our son was at a state track tournament.

If you have been a friend of the family you would know that Taylor was always very small for his age. So small in fact that as he was in the 5th or 6th grade, he was like 50 or 60 lbs. His voice, didn't start changing until about two years ago. He was always just slow growing.

When we got to the meet, and we saw the size of the kids in his age group, we worried for him. He was about 4 and a half feet tall to five feet, and one of his competitors was about 6 feet tall if not taller. The others weren't that much smaller than the tallest boy. I remember a flash glance from Gordy. We said not one word but of encouragement to Taylor. Taylor seemed unaware of the differences or what advantages it would give the older boys. They were on the high end of the age range and he was on the low. The same went for size also.

The line up came for his race, which was the mile. As we stood in the crowd, it was so odd looking at the runners, you could hardly see Taylor as they hovered over him. He was just a little guy. From the moment of the race, and shot, the taller, older boys were ahead of Taylor. He kept going. They were putting further and further distance between themselves and Taylor, yet Taylor seemed so unaffected by the disadvantage. He just kept running. It finally happened, they started passing him, meaning they were a whole lap ahead of Taylor. The first person crossed the finish line and Taylor had over a lap to go. You could tell he was hot and he was tired. I thought at any minute he was going to fall over from heat or exhaustion. As the first person crossed the finish line, the international students, Risa and Mayu looked at us, and at that moment we were all on the same page, our hearts hurt for Taylor. He kept plugging along. He never lost hope. He never gave up. As he did that last lap, you could hear my husband rooting him on. I sat, with tears in my eyes at first, at the sheer love and compassion that my husband has for our son. I then heard Amanda, and then Mayu and Risa. We stood united as a family to encourage Taylor to not give up, to never give up. The crowd also started clapping for him and cheering him on the last quarter lap. He crossed the line and his dad was waiting there with a hug for him. He was such a good sport, going to the other young men and shaking their hands. Here we were all emotional and worried for Taylor and he was just so excited to get his shirt and have his picture taken with the scoreboard in the back that would have his name in lights on it.

God give me strength to always run the race even if I am in last place. Let me learn by my son's determination. Let him understand, sometime God, please let him understand the love and devotion of his family that cares about him and will always be sitting at the finish line with a hug and encouragement no matter how long it takes him to cross that line.

God, thanks SOOOOO much for such a wonderful and caring man that I have in Gordon to encourage and guide our children. Thank you for the love that my girls have for Taylor and each other. You bless me with these gifts. Give me strength, courage and direction. I need all these things now.

Aspergers Syndrome/ Autism Tip of the day: Routine. Somebody with Autism works best in a world of strictly routine. It is best that they get up at the same time each day, eat at the same time and keep their meals at the same time, along with chores and other rituals in their daily lives. Sometimes because of the non communicative portion of the disability it gets really tricky when the routine is not met. If I am late getting home or if dinner is not ready at the right time, since he needs that routine and he lacks the ability to communicate his frustration with me, or the situation, a meltdown would happen. Life happens where, although we try to live this routing to the best of our ability, there are times we are not able to do so, and it is a set back for our son.

1 comment:

Didi said...

Ah yes...Colin has very strict routines too. He has his set times to eat...and even if he is hungry an hour or less before that time he will NOT eat. Sometimes when we are travelling it is very tough.