Two little swimmers coming up! Asher and Nolan start swimming lessons in the fall and I am beyond excited.
Funnily enough, when Jordan suggested it I was opposed to it. I know the boys love swimming, and I know it is really good for them, especially Asher. But yet I wasn't ready for them to start lessons.
Because Asher in lessons would be the first time I'd be face to face with people really looking at him. I may be naive, but I truly believe that in public, people don't (yet) notice Asher is different. For starters, they are distracted by his cuteness. Seriously, those eyelashes? They stop people in their tracks. But aside from the cuteness, when Asher is in his stroller he doesn't look any different from Nolan, who doesn't look different at all. But in swimming lessons, it would be apparent that Asher isn't typical.
Thanks to some caring coaxing from Jordan, I realized I was being silly. Who cares if people stare at him when he's having fun? I need to get used to it at some point because soon enough, someone is going to ask, or I'm going to read the look on their faces: "What's wrong with him?" and I'm going to need to cope with it.
I'm a big girl (begrudgingly) so the decision was made.
But of course it's not that simple, so some logistics were required. First of all, the simple organization of getting the boys in the same class, and ideally at the same time as Rio. A bit of comparing classes with Jordan's schedule and it was actually pretty painless to have all five of us (usually) available one day per week at the same time. Amazing!
Then I realized I should probably tell someone at the rec centre. Is this the kind of thing they need to know? I wasn't sure. This is my first time in this special needs parenting gig, after all. Asher isn't medically fragile and it is just a toddler swim class that the parents take part in, but maybe this is the kind of thing you need to check out ahead of time?
So we called the aquatics coordinator to discuss. She was very helpful, and after we reviewed the details of his disability she ensured me he would be great, and that she would assign an experienced teacher to their class to be sure we all got the best instruction possible. As an added bonus, we talked about what future swimming lessons will look like for the boys (private lessons with an experienced teacher) so the whole process put my mind at ease.
All that was then left was registration. I set the alarm for 5:55 am because let me tell you - registration is cut throat! If you aren't online the minute it starts (6:00 am), you're not getting your classes. You'd think The Beatles re-incarnated were coming to town. Nope, just kids activities. Start of every new term I set the alarm and then get up and panic over not getting in to whatever classes we plan on putting Rio in....just like in the old days of registering for university by phone. (Remember those days? Busy signal, busy signal, busy signal. Get through. Classes are all full. Look at plan B, C, and D and pray you don't get disconnected. University-goers-of-today: be thankful you can register online).
Ok I digress. I started the registration process, logging in with shaking hands and wondering what the heck I'm going to do if their classes fill up immediately. Focus, Tracey, focus! I find the preschool lessons, I look for their class date and time, I click "add to cart" and there it is: a message telling me they can't register because they turn three before the end of class (The class goes from Sept-Dec and is for 2 year olds. They turn 3 in November).
What? There must be something wrong. So I try again. Nope same message. So I sit and sulk for a minute before I realize I've got to get Rio registered! Sure enough the swim class I wanted her in (Plan B because of the boys not getting in) was full by this point. Hrmph. Swim class plan C and soccer and we're done.
I knew the aquatics coordinator was waiting to hear back from me about what class the boys were registered in, and I almost didn't bother calling her in light of the recent turn of events. I finally decided it would be polite to send her an email thanking her for her time and telling her what happened. I then went out for the morning, busily forgetting about it (the usual these days).
A few hours later Jordan called me to say she had called our house and told him that the "3 yr old by the end of class" policy was ridiculous. She circumvented it, and registered both boys in class together, at the same time as Rio, in the time slot that was our first choice.
I was ecstatic. And emotional. Do I even need to add the bit where I cried or is that just assumed?
I was just so touched. This was a small part of her day that probably took 5 minutes, but made a huge difference to us. I went from dreading the class setting, to being so excited to finally have the boys participate in a "normal" activity.
I sent her another email thanking her, letting her know what a big deal this was to me. It goes to show that the little gestures, though seemingly small in your life, may be really big in someone else's life. Thanks to that coordinator going above and beyond, she made my day. Even more so, was her response telling me how important it is to her that special needs kids get every opportunity to swim and how she is there to help us any time in the future.
Once again this shows me there is pretty much nothing we can't do with/for Asher if we put our minds to it. You want to see one proud mama? That'll be me on the first day of swim class.