Looking through these photos for today’s post, I had several thoughts.
First, I didn’t think this hike was that great. We drove out to Pennsylvania with a destination in mind that we discovered was closed. So, we found another trail nearby to hike instead. Then, we thought we were on one trail, and that we would see some great views of the Delaware Water Gap, but we weren’t actually on that trail at all…or maybe we just didn’t go far enough. Anyway, it wasn’t one of our best hikes.
And sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes they aren’t our best hikes.
But…when I was looking through the photos I realized that the boys didn’t care. They were happy just to be outside exploring.
Andrew had packed a bag of explorer’s gear. He had a flashlight, a bug vacuum, walkie talkies, and a telescope.
And when he wasn’t exploring, he was finding light sabors and practicing his Jedi Knight skills.
Isaac just wants to do whatever Andrew is doing. So, he was happy to tag along.
And he found this hole in a tree trunk.
That, upon close examination, he determined “this hole is full of empty!” And I wasn’t about to argue with that (or poke around in that hole!).
On Sunday we went to our local playground, which we have not done in a long time. And…it didn’t go well. Andrew was trying his hardest to play with the other kids, but he overwhelmed them with his loud laughing and his lack of personal space awareness. I’d pull him aside to give him tips, he’d listen, nod and then run back into the group of kids and make the same social faux pas again and again. At one point one of the kids pointed to Andrew and said to his father, “see Dad? That’s the one I don’t like!”
Break. My. Heart.
I left feeling reminded at how hard these things can be for Andrew. AND I left feeling so grateful for his buddies at school. AND grateful for the program he’s in. I had written a note to his teacher last week about Andrew’s inability to read nonverbal/indirect communication and gave examples of how that’s been socially challenging for him. And his teacher was ON IT. He met with the program director, they made a game plan of how to address this and support Andrew. These kinds of things are not uncommon for kids like Andrew, and the team decided to unroll a series of lessons for everyone in his class on this topic.
But looking at these photos again reminded me that the playground is one place, in a whole list of places, that affect Andrew. The playground is hard…but not everywhere is. School isn’t. Our friends’ homes aren’t. The many, many engrossing, engaging places that we visit in this busy city aren’t hard for him either (though….those are somewhat hard for Isaac! can’t win ‘em all!) Will we avoid the playground? As much as I want to never go back, I don’t think we will avoid it. It’s a hard place, but it’s just one place.
And the most important place…is his place in our family. It won’t always be the most important place…but I like that it is right now. Gosh, we love this kid.