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Progress Isn’t Always Pretty

Summer ball is upon us!!  While this may bring busy, hectic schedules with four kids playing on three different teams, I have to say, I do adore this time of year.  Despite the busyness, we are together and together time is something we just don’t get enough of during the school year.

Bleacher time is FAMILY TIME!

Bleacher time is FAMILY TIME!

We kicked off the season for all three teams this week.  While I enjoy watching my kids play ball, the joy is truly in seeing them smile, doing something they love, with friends they adore.

Our younger two are on the same t-ball team, a blessing indeed.  Our first game was held on a rather warm morning, about 30 minutes behind the scheduled time because we had to wait for the game before ours to be done.  So, some of the kiddos on the team were near done before the game even started.  Ben happened to be one of them.

He had some good moments during the game, but there were also some struggles.  Yet, he never ran away, he didn’t strike out at anyone, and while he may have been very vocal about wanting to be done, he did allow me to physically redirect him (my hands on his shoulders) and he did respond as requested when I pointed and said, “Get the ball, Ben.”

It may not have appeared to be a good morning.  It may not have appeared that he enjoyed himself.  It may not have appeared to be the best way we could have spent the morning.  But appearances can be deceiving.

The appearance of what may have seemed like struggles bigger than they are worth may cause some to wonder why we even do this.

While I do agree that all kids regardless of their ability, or even lack thereof, should have the same opportunities to run and play and enjoy a sport they love, that’s not why we play through the struggles.  We do it, quite simply, because he wants to.

He was the first one to say, “Let’s play baseball!” when the weather started to break.  He’s also typically the first one who pulls the T, the ball, and the bat out of the garage when we go outside to play.  And he’s the first one who grabbed his baseball shirt and dressed himself the morning of our season opener.  (Self-care skills such as dressing oneself is often a struggle for those who live on the autism spectrum.)

This game, he batted on his own.  He ran the bases with me at his side same as last year, but I only had to make contact with him a couple of times as opposed to most of the time last year.  He only sat down in the field once in this season opener, whereas last season saw us working on just staying on his feet while we were in the field.  We had some not so pretty moments, but it was a good morning, friends. Please remember this, progress is good, but it isn’t always pretty.  For progress to continue, that has to be okay.  The season opener morning was more than okay, it was a home run!

We may play the same as others.  We may be playing a game within a game.  We may not be smiling and laughing the entire way, but we play - not because we have to, but because he wants to.

We may play the same as others. We may be playing a game within a game. We may not be smiling and laughing the entire way, but we play – not because we have to, but because he wants to.

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