Already, there have been so many highs and lows since February, when my son was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. I remember the crushing feeling of helplessness, the grief, the confusion, constantly feeling overwhelmed. After some time, I went through a positive phase where I thought I had a grip on it all (and probably and a hint of denial going on, too). Since then, I am mostly settled into an in-between place. The pain is not as great as those first days, but I am still learning and grieving and working toward acceptance, toward letting go of the negative feelings.
I try not to worry and not to compare, but it is hard. When the OT said she needed to bring in a behavioral psychologist because Buddy is not progressing enough and may need more aggressive therapy or an additional diagnosis, I was sad. When a baby 6 months younger flew by my son at the library speaking in small sentences, and my son tripped and fell and yelled in baby babble, I was sad. I do not feel sad for me, though. I feel sad for him and worry about his future. He is not sad, though. He is content in that moment as he takes a spin and then tosses some blocks through the air, enjoying the pull in his arm and the visual of the block whizzing by. He giggles. He is happy, and I want to be happy more often, too.
The pool. The pool is where we have found solace and happiness together, the both of us. It took some time. We had to go several times and I had to let him take the lead, never pushing. He slowly adjusted to the new scene, the water, the spray guns, the people, and the noise. The first time we went, I thought we might never go back. He screamed and clung to me, afraid to even dip a toe in the water. So I held him, and comforted him, sat on the end of the pool. The next time we went, he did not cry, and allowed me to wade in the water with him and let his toes dangle in the cool water. Now, he loves for me to dip him in and out, splash his hands, and get sprayed with the water gun. He runs around the shallow end and sits in the water. He smiles and giggles and has a blast.
At the pool, worries about the future seem miles away. No one stares at us. I do not have to work in therapy in an unnatural way because the water gives its own therapy. My daughter swims and splashes with us, never feeling left out. My son beams and plays without a hint of SPD (that is until he get out and he runs around slamming the back of all the lounge chairs down loud repetitious display, but oh well!). At the pool, we just feel like a happy, normal family playing at the pool. And that’s because we are…for the most part.