Thursday, September 9, 2010
The Beach Boy
I recently e-mailed an author whose work I admire to tell him I was eager to see his next book project, which I had heard him discuss in an interview. I didn't expect a response, but lo and behold the next day, there was an e-mail from him. He gave the usual thanks for writing before closing with the following words of encouragement with regards to being a father:
"There is pain -- there always will be -- but there is hope."
This writer has a son who grew up having to overcome plenty of obstacles, and I had told him a little bit about Noe. I think what he said goes for any parent when it comes to raising children, but it seems to ring particularly true if your child has special needs. There is a constant worry and weariness that comes with each day, you're terrified at how he'll maneuver the world after you're not there to help him, you fret about the things he'll miss out on that most typical developing kids get to do.
But as he said, there is hope. Which brings me to our trip to Virginia Beach last month.
Surfers Healing is an organization that holds one-day surfing camps all over the country. Because they're free, they tend to fill up fast. We finally got lucky and were able to sign him up for one this year. Based on everything we'd seen and read, we figured he would enjoy it. But as with anything else we do with him, we went in feeling somewhat wary.
It turned out to be one of the best experiences we've had with him.
Noe was excited and eager as he rode wave after wave after wave. It was like he had been doing it for a long time. Very calm, very at ease while waiting for that perfect wave. It was a day that brought great joy, pride and yes, tears. For a few hours at least, all my fears and worries melted away as I saw Noe shine and thrive at something he loved.
It's a great credit to Surfers Healing, which was very organized and professional because we were far from the only ones who walked away with memories that will last a lifetime.
Noe will continue to face challenges as he gets older (he started second grade this week, and turns 8 in December) and we'll do the best we can, much as we always have. But it's days like the ones at Virginia Beach -- the hope that the author told me about -- that makes the pain all worth it.