We've been going to the same Memorial Day Party for many years. It's thrown by a great family, the husband of which I used to work with, so it's a gathering of my former co-workers who have all become good friends. When the parties started out, some of us were married but none of us had kids. Now most of us are married and kids are running around all over the place. Now that we don't all work together, it's a chance to catch up, see how much everyone's kids have grown, and compliment each other on the fact that, despite our children growing, we all don't look a day older.
For me, it's also a chance to show how well Soren is doing. When he first started attending, he was not doing well at all. He had just started having seizures about 3 months before. He was floppy and we were very overwhelmed. But each year Soren came back, everyone would comment on his progress--more alert, better strength, moving more.
This year when we headed off, I was feeling a little sad, feeling like in the year that had passed, Soren hadn't really moved ahead much. I figured that, like the year before, we would sit on a blanket and I would either let him stretch out or sit him up figuring I would have to support him a lot. I was feeling rather sorry for him and myself (boy, I'm fun at parties, hunh?)
But when we sat down, I put him between my legs in "ring sitting" and then I sat back as Soren supported himself for a good 40 minutes to an hour! I was stunned. There was only one time when he toppled over onto my legs--and that was near the end when he was tired. I didn't need to touch him, I was not reminding him to hold his head up, and he just sat there like a big boy. I don't know if anyone else was impressed by his progress, but I was blown away by it.
Clearly I had not sat like this with him in a long, long time. So the credit for his progress doesn't go to me. It goes to Soren's therapists and his teachers. They push that boy to the limit. I went to school the other day and Soren was sitting up against a wall--he was crumpled over, but I know when he was first seated there he was sitting up. And I know he could pull himself up if he wanted. His teachers put him in this position a lot--this way he can't fall back and rolling forward onto a soft mat is quite harmless. And he can sit there on his own for a long time!
Oh, and the credit also goes to Soren. Despite hating to work, he works very, very hard. He may not like it, but he does it, and he's changing because of it.
But back to the party. It was great to see everyone's kids running around. Sometimes this makes me sad because Soren isn't running with them. But I was so happy with what he was doing, I didn't think about what I wished he was doing.
That day one of my friend's sons asked his mom a very good question about Soren. He asked how much fun Soren has in a day. He was very concerned about this. She told him that while Soren may not have fun like other kids, when he's not having fun, he lets people know it (and boy is that true). But Soren was sitting there, looking around, observing as he does. He was outside with the breeze blowing and people laughing. Though he was sitting, he wasn't stressed about it. He was in the middle of the action, which he enjoys. So as fun goes, I think Soren was enjoying his version of it. But it was a good question that really made me think.