Susan's Blog

Monday, April 16, 2007

Golden Afternoon

I am certainly not referring to the weather. I have forgotten what the sun looks like. But I am floating along because yesterday was simply golden.

Ned and I woke up early to bring Nat to his Special Olympics swim qualifier at Babson College in Wellesley. We decided to leave Ben and Max home because they did not want to go. We don’t want to make them attend these things but naturally I struggled with the question of whether to gently force the issue. Nat is so often the third wheel with the two of them. Although I regularly prompt them all to talk to one another, it does not come easy for any of them. I do find myself wondering whether I failed in some regard over the years in terms of getting Max and Ben to pay more positive attention to Nat — perhaps — but the bottom line is, they all three have their issues when it comes to socializing and certainly Max and Ben are wary around Nat because he is unpredictable and has in the past been aggressive. I can’t very well urge them to stay in his face if it might annoy him enough to lunge at them. But still, it bothers me that they don’t even just naturally greet him when he comes home from school without my reminder.

In the end we decided that the swim qualifiers are too indeterminate in length for them to enjoy, too unfamiliar a location, but that we would all go to the State Games in June instead. I was glad about this decision because it turned out that one of Ben’s best friends called for a playdate while we were gone and Max arranged for him to come over while he babysat.

Nat was in a great mood. While we waited for the races to begin, we sat around on chairs with the other families and listened to blaring rock music. Nat had a grin on his face the entire time, which I had not seen in a while. He seemed utterly content. We just knew he was happy and that he would do well.

And so he did. Except for being the last to get in the water, which was very cold. Nat sat on the side of the pool while his coach urged him to get in, get in. I yelled, “Get in, Nat!” so loudly and everyone laughed. Soon the whole crowd was clapping for Nat to get in. Finally he went in and was clearly extremely cold; his arms were lifted up like bat wings over the frigid water. But when that horn sounded, he jumped forward and kept an amazing lead for the whole race. Ned took tons of great pictures. I screamed myself hoarse. Neigh. Yay.

Nat won gold medals in all three of his events, with a happy face the entire day. So beautiful. I only wish that Max and Ben could have seen him because maybe it would have made the slightest difference in how they feel about him? But who knows? So I called Max from the pool and told him about Nat’s wins. “Cool,” he said, sounding sincere. We took Nat out for a Starbucks treat on our way home. Nat enjoyed his M&M; cookie while Ned and I had decafs (mine was a breve misto, of course).


That is so neat! I wish I could have been cheering him on too. Charlie loves to swim and we are getting him lessons this summer.

— added by Mom on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 8:52 am

Well done Nat.
Best wishes

— added by Maddy on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 10:05 am

Great job Nat! Can’t wait to see the photos your Daddy took. Keep up the great swimming dude!

— added by KC's Blog on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 1:34 pm

So proud of Nat! Congrats!!!

You have done a great job with the sibs. Don’t worry about it. As they continue to get older, they will always have the innate ability to love and care for their brother. Think about it from typical sibs. Max is in teens, even a typical sibling is not going to make him jump hula hoops to see their brother swim. And Ben, I have a 3rd grader also, Zach. If they are similar, Zach has started this “duh” stage. You are doing great. Keep it up.

— added by Laura Cottington on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 1:40 pm

This is awesome! Way to go Nat! Thanks for sharing Susan. It made my day.


— added by Anonymous on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 2:38 pm

Go Nat! 🙂

— added by Phil Schwarz on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Phil, Jan, all of you —
It is always so amazing to me that there are so many people who care about Nat. Thank you all for letting me know this. Your connection to Nat and to me is a real gift.

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Wow- awesome job Nat!! You should be so proud of yourself!

My son is 7 and likes to swim. I hope he can swim as well as you someday!

Susan- this weekend I noticed how my younger son Thomas (NT, age 3) follows Henry (PDD-NOS) around all day-just like a regular pesty little brother.

I wonder if (or I should say when) the day will come that Tommy won’t be interested in following Henry around anymore? Time will tell.

— added by gretchen on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Three gold medals! That’s phenomenal! Congratulations to your big fish! I’m glad you decided to leave Max and Ben at home, swim meets can get a little tedious, and Ben would have missed that playdate. I’m very impressed that Max took on the added responsibility of watching Ben’s friend, he didn’t have to, but opted to for his brother. I have no doubts he would support Nat in a similiar situation.

You’ve got to pat yourself on the back for raising three healthy boys. Now go battle for services for when our boys grow up!!

— added by Lisa on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 at 12:08 pm