Phelps Brings A Tear To My Eye

Of course Phelps brings a tear to every red-blooded American's eye. The guy has a few swimming skillz, and he's sweeping the rest of the world off it's feet. Or bowling them under the waves.

But there's more than that. When I see such a great swimmer (or any swimmer for that matter) I think of Micah and his love of water. The boy could be part merman he loves swimming that much. And it's a crying shame that he got his tonsils out last week because he's now in bed by the time the swimming is televised. Micah loves watching swimming as much as he loves to swim. In fact, he was watching swimming on TV earlier this summer and when it was over he stripped nekkid, stepped into his wading pool, and was determined to teach himself to swim properly. He laid down on his belly, he stroked with his arms and he paddled with his legs. My heart swelled at his ability to memorize the moves and then attempt to execute them. Too bad our pool was only 6' across.

When I see Phelps it also reminds me that my son, who loves water so and could be part merman, has Downs. How cool would it be if Micah (or anyone with Downs!) could be good enough to compete in an Olympic event? That thought makes me cry real tears. My heart overflows with pride and accomplishment at what could be someday.

But Micah has Downs, so chances are he'll never compete in the Olympics. And that thought makes me cry real tears because he has a disability that hinders him from doing some things that other people can. And my heart overflows with the unfairness of it all.

Sure, there are the Special Olympics for kids such as him. And I'm so very grateful to the one who had the vision to start that program. Kids with disabilities may not be able to compete against others so well, but that's no reason they can't train and compete on their own level. And there's even more pride in accomplishment when they do their very best. The look on their faces tells a greater story than some of the jaded athletes in worldwide competition that you see getting gold medals.

Still, my mom heart breaks for what he could be and isn't. Or maybe that's just me wishing that I had the normal child I envisioned again. Because Micah just doesn't seem to notice the disability. And that's yet another reason I love that boy so very much.

23 comments:

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

Karen, that was beautiful! I imagine that having a child with a disability is a double edged sword - loving him and wanting him for the wonderful child that he is, but also wishing that he were 'normal' because the world is easier and seems to have been designed for 'nomal'. (Please tell me that didn't come off really wrong - I hope you know what I meant.)

I can just picture Micah swimming his little heart out, and I can also picture you watching - a smile on your face and your heart bursting with love. I hope swimming is something that he continues to do and that someday we will see him competing.

utmomof5 said...

Great post Karen!! He is so lucky to have you as his mom. If only all kids were loved as much by their moms as Micah is loved by his.
I love to watch the special olympics. The pure joy that is seen on their faces is too priceless!!

Pam said...

Seriously- you need a tissue warning before a beautiful post like that! You made me cry as if it was my pain/joy and not just yours. Fabulous writing! Great picture too!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

I've cried these same tears a hundred times over. And rejoiced even more often. The gift of a disability is truly a two-sided coin -- the pain and the joy cannot be separated. Let that precious boy dream, and train, and go as far as his little legs/mind/heart can carry him. That's the greatest gift you can give him. He will pay you back with interest. : ) Time to get a BIGGER pool and let the merman show you his stuff!

p.s.
Phelps isn't the only one that brings a tear to my eye this day. Thanks for sharing from the heart.

Aimee said...

I'm with you, mama. Fiver just started cross country because we wanted to give him some kind of "team" experience, but we had to find one where no one would be depending upon him to pass a ball, kick a ball, throw a ball, catch a ball, etc... because he can't do any of that yet. But he can run, so we hope that he hits his stride without wishing he could do something else.

Michelle said...

It's amazing how their passions can be so channeled and really surprised you sometimes. We've been doing swim lessons since Jan, and I still can't get Mister Man to understand the concept of strokes -- even when watching more advanced kids. That's so COOL that Micah figured it out right away.

And yeah... I have mixed emotions about the Special Olympics. I love that there ARE places that those with disabilities can compete AND be so proud with what they do. But at the same time, the fact that they CAN'T do so many things constantly tugs at my heartstrings. I get it.

Any chance of Tivo'ing or recording the Olympics so he can watch swimming later (or earlier in the day at least!)?

Flea said...

How very cool that he knows what he likes and just does it. How many times do I squelch my kids' interests because I think they can't do something? Micah goes for it. Sounds like he's a very happy little kid most of the time.

Karen said...

Oh Karen.....I love your little Micah! I love that even though you know it's not probable your Micah will ever compete in the Olympics, I am humbled that you never say that it is impossible.

Burgh Baby said...

Behind every great swimmer is a great momma.

Marmarbug said...

Oh Karen! That made me cry!
Thank goodness Micah was sent to you since you can see that he can be anything no matter what pyhsical limitations he may have.
He is so gosh darn cute in that pciture I just want to hug him!

Michelle said...

Hugs!! I've had similar thoughts too - like "well why can't Kayla compete in regular sports in school?" Who knows - maybe one day our kids will be blazing a new trail!

Irene said...

I don't know if this sounds bad or not, but I sometimes think it is harder having a higher functioning special needs child. Caroline has so many issues, that I almost never think of "what ifs".

The one thing that sometimes breaks my heart is when I have dreams that Caroline learns to walk. These dreams are so real that I feel so disappointed when I wake. And I feel even worse when my daughter tells me she has the same dreams.

Sandy C. said...

Such a beautiful post. I couldn't hold back the tears. You and Micha are truly an inspiration.

Andrea said...

I totally understand. We want our kids to all do so well and when they either can't or don't it breaks our hearts. You never know, Micah might be the one to break the trend!! He is such a cutie!

Nap Warden said...

Oh...you made me cry. Such a beautiful post:)

Anonymous said...

I am a lurker..i read your blog everyday..it took me a day to comment..i pray for your sons speedy recovery..i love your blog and the wonderful stories of your adorable son..and your other children as well...Micah will be a better swimmer than Mr.Phelps cause he has you as a momma..god bless you and your family..

Karen said...

Anon - thank you so much. You've brought a tear to my eye with your kindness.

My boys are Army Brats said...

That was a sweet post. I totally understand having a child who is different and being frustrated because of the things our kids will never get to experience but on the other hand I wouldn't change my kiddo for the world becuase taking away his disorder would change who he is and we love the Tayton we know so much! Micah is so darn cute!

caramama said...

That was so sweet, and I just want to give you a hug. My heart breaks with you, and yet it also soars for the wonder that is Micah! How great that he went right into the pool after watching swimming and tried to teach himself how to do it right! He's just amazing.

Queen Mommy said...

Well said, very well said.

Colleen said...

I love the Special Olympics! Those kids have worked hard and have no malice towards their competitors.

I have noticed, especially in this Olympics, that there is more trash-talk amongst the countries and competitors...and there was even this Jamaican runner who said, "all that matters is that I won".

just jamie said...

Aw. Micah is destined for big things. Maybe bigger than the Olympics even.

BUt I understand your tears, I do.

AZ Chapman said...

Hi my name is Az I compete in the SO and my pal with ds is a great swimmer he even swims on the local swim team against typical kids who's knows L might swim in the olympicas one day.
I hope Micah will too.

Ps did y know SO has a world games similar to the Olympias