Lightning Bolt Underwear: why you need a pair

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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.

They did.

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.

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A heartfelt thank-you (and Happy New Year!)

To my followers, hello!  I’ve been off the radar for a little while now.  I could give you a litany of excuses for why I haven’t been writing, but they can all be summed up in the following phrase: I’m a working mom.  I’m forever impressed by those of you who are too and still manage to keep up with all of your wonderfully entertaining and enlightening posts.  My hats off to you, Super Moms!

I couldn’t end the year without saying something though.

Thank you.  

If you’ve been following regularly, you know this has been a tumultuous year.  Having my four year-old son diagnosed with autism last winter changed my life in ways I’m still figuring out.  Much of the year has been full of heartache, frustration, anger, and a new level of stress, but it has also brought unforeseen blessings.

One of the greatest blessings has been you.  Finding an outlet to share my frustrations has been a catharsis I never knew how badly I needed.  Reading your own blogs has helped me see I am far from alone in my struggles.  Reading your blogs has brought me clarity, comfort, and new-found compassion.  Fellow writers, you are all abundantly talented; reading your words brings me real joy (and often so much laughter).  Fellow readers, knowing you are there, reading my words, compels me to keep writing and sharing my story, however inconsequential it may be.

Whatever your New Year’s resolutions may be, I wish you the greatest success.

I resolve to stop being so hard on myself and embrace my own “flaws” as quirks that actually help me understand my son like no one else.

Oh, I also resolve to write more.  It truly is so cathartic!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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