18 hours ago
Monday, June 3, 2013
Taking back the places with the sad memories
It's been years since we've been to our community pool. We've tried out other smaller pools because Max was never a fan of our local one: Too many kids, too much noise. I never loved it, either. That's because I couldn't get past the sad memories I had of being there with Max as a baby.
We'd try to dip him in the baby pool, but he'd cry. So I'd sit with him under the shade of a huge blue tarp and Dave would go for a swim. I'd watch other tots splashing happily in the pool and crawling on the grass as I held Max in my arms, because he wasn't yet able to crawl. I felt so despondent and alone, as I often did during the first year of Max's life.
So we were back at the pool on Sunday. My eyes immediately went to that big blue tarp, and I remembered. But that was then—and now, Max was so excited to be there. He waded right into the smallest pool, splashed around, made a beeline for a steering wheel that controlled the flow of a mini waterfall.
I sat on the side watching him enjoy. "Does he have autism?" a girl asked me. "No, he has cerebral palsy, and he understands you—go say hello!" And she did, and then Max and her played for a bit.
Slowly but surely, the sad memories of Max's early years have been replaced with good ones. The park where Max couldn't do much except sit on my lap is now a place where he roams free. The mall he refused to go into is a favorite of his. One of the only places I haven't yet reclaimed is the hospital where Max was born. To me, it is the closest place to hell.
Around Max's tenth birthday this past year, I started thinking about going back to the hospital and just sitting in the lobby. I thought it might help replace the memories I have of Max's birth and the two weeks he was in the NICU. I still haven't done it.
This weekend, though, Max and I both found a whole lot of happiness at the pool.
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 6:40 AM