Austin is struggling...again. This is the story of my life: Austin does well for while and then he has a hard time functioning in every aspect of his life: school, home, sleep, friends, eating, etc. It is a roller coaster ride with him. I guess we are now in the middle of one of the slow, tedious, uphill battles again. I find myself more exhausted than usual, questioning every aspect of our parenting and past decisions with him, and extremely frustrated with limited patience.
So, I thought I would share one of his strengths today: The ability to look past outer appearances. He simply doesn't see people based on size, shape, color, age, etc. He has always been like this, and I assumed that he would grow out of it. But, so far, he continues to have the amazing ability to see people simply as people. It really is incredible, and I wish I had this ability.
Most of the time it is a good thing. He can walk into a retirement center and pass out hugs - not noticing goiters, wheelchairs, lack of teeth, etc. He can make friends with anyone. He can talk to anyone - the checkout lady at the grocery store, a new kid at the playground, a stranger at the movie theater. Sometimes, it is not such a good thing. For instance, I think he would trust anyone and go with anyone - even people with not so good intentions. He also came home from Kindergarten one day and pronounced that he no longer had to ride in a booster seat (this was before the recent Utah seat belt laws). I asked him why, and he explained that Jayden, in his class, doesn't have to ride in one and they are both five years old. This is all true information. Except that Jayden is easily a head taller than him, and has at least a solid 30 pounds on him. Austin doesn't see it!
Last Friday, I was substituting at his school. My class had recess the same time that his class had recess. So, I walk outside in 36 degree weather, and the first thing I see is Austin in his short-sleeved shirt playing Four Square with 6th graders (have I mentioned that Four Square is his latest passion). Here is my thought process:
- I'm sure he's learning some very colorful words from those kids. (How embarrassing that this was my first thought. And I always assumed I was an optimist. Jeez!)
- (I continued watching from a distance and quickly repented of my first thought.) Wow! How incredible are those 6th Graders to let two 2nd Graders into their game. Seriously, they must be really nice kids.
- Austin is doing really well. He is getting out a lot (6th Graders have the obvious advantage) and he is being a really good sport about it. He gets out, goes to the back of the line, and avidly watches the game.
- He must be really brave to ask 6th Graders to join their game. I don't think I would have done that at his age. I remember being on the playground and being terrified of the older kids. He simply doesn't see age.