Going the Distance
Today was a tough day. It was the cross country carnival. My son wanted to give the race a red hot go. He chose to enter the longer event and was full of confidence before he left for school this morning. In fact he was so pumped up about running the long distance race; he requested a pasta meal to boost his carbs the night before.
As his mum, I tried to gently tell him that I would love him no matter where he finished and as long as he tried his best and finished the race that should be enough. But he was excited and confident that he would do well.
Whenever I volunteer at school events like this I ALWAYS get selected. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but sometimes I feel like they’re relieved they don’t have to deal with the kid with epilepsy. My son has a lot of sensory and respiratory issues too, but the thought of having to administer an emergency medication to stop a seizure really scares the crap out of people! So me being there is not only a security blanket for my son, but school staff too.
Today, my son was not a hundred per cent and had the sniffles; his face has red marks from wearing his CPAP (A device that helps keep his airway open at night). I offer him the chance to have a day off school, but he insists on going.
“Mum, it’s cross country today, I might make the school team,” he tells me with a heart full of hope.
The sun was shining and it was lovely to be outside instead of being stuck behind a desk. I had the not-so-important job of recording the times of the first place runners to cross the line in each class.
It’s my son’s time to race. He lines up at the starting line with his class mates ready to race 1750 metres. That’s a long way for any 10-year-old!!! About 200m into the race, my son is already starting to fall behind. It’s crushing to watch. They have to loop the course twice and by the time he reaches the finish line the first time, his head is down and he is alone. He now has to do another lap. Everyone is well ahead and my son is now walking. He has given up all hope.
My son is a known “runner” – not an athlete runner, but a runner who runs away when things get tough. I can see how dejected he feels, but he keeps going. I watch closely and I am ready to race should he bolt away from the track.
As I watch I see something that makes me well up on the inside, his teacher has also seen that my son is doing it tough. Instead of telling him to quit, she encourages him to keep going. She walks by his side encouraging him every step of the way. Not letting him quit or runaway.
They make it almost to the finish line and the teacher steps away to let my son cross the line alone. He knows he has finished dead last, beaten by everyone. I leave him for a while and let him approach me. I wrap my arms around him. I can tell he’s feeling like shit. He’s heart broken and tells me he wants to go home. Instead of agreeing, I tell him he needs to go back to school. He is sad, exhausted and doesn’t have the will left to put forward a structured argument that he normally would. Instead he slouches off to join his class mates.
His teacher approaches me and knows I’ve just watched my son be destroyed by the race.
“It’s up to you, would you like to take him home for the day?” She asks caringly and suggesting that it might have been too much for the little fella today.
I thank her for literally going the extra mile for my son, but decide to let him go back to school to finish off the day. She looks surprised and I tell her, my son needs to learn resilience.
Two hours later I pick him up from school and he walks out with a smile on his face and starts chatting away about school stuff! He’s okay and he’s coped with a very tough day.
Sometimes we have to make our kids go the distance. Sometimes there will be failures and sometimes success.
It wasn’t a great day, but we made it through.
Hope you are having some wins.
Ragdoll Mumma Kelly