Boy runs. Mom weeps. Parenting.
My four year-old son ran his first race: a 3K.
It started with a declaration to the lady handing out bibs and shirts: “I’m wearing lightning bolt underwear!” He was convinced his underwear would give him powers to run quickly.
When the bull horn went off, he took off like, well, a lightning bolt. Of course, it didn’t last long. He gassed out after a minute or two, and it wasn’t long before he was experiencing the grueling middle of a race that runners know so well.
But he persevered. Sure, he may have fussed, whined, even cried, but he worked through his unique struggles. He kept going, even though so many passed him by. He persevered.
When the finish line drew near, his adrenaline sped up as he realized he could do it. The lightning bolt underwear’s magical properties kicked in and suddenly his feet took over. He wasn’t stumbling along – he was running! The crowd cheered as this skinny little boy – all elbows and knees – pushed himself to the breaking point, literally sprinting.
As I watched him near the finish line, shouting “Rescue Bots! Roll out!” and smiling profusely, I couldn’t help but marvel at what a metaphor for his young life this first race was. He starts every task with a firm belief he can do it. Often, the initial confidence transforms into anger, frustration, and self-pity, but with the right encouragement, he always perseveres, despite so many obstacles.
Naturally, once he did cross the finish line, he took the time to assume a super hero stance, flexing both of his arms.
The boy loves to show off the guns.
If there’s anything to learn from this little anecdote, it’s that everyone needs a pair of lightning bolt underwear, that tangible something that reminds us we can accomplish our goals, that nothing’s beyond our reach.
Did I mention my son has autism? If a race full of hundreds of people isn’t a recipe for sensory-overload, I don’t know what is.
I’m telling you: lightning bolt underwear. Go get a pair.