For as long as I can remember I have been very competitive. As I grew up, my thirst for competition was quenched nicely as I did a lot of swimming.
My favourite event was the 50 metres freestyle. I would like to say the the 50 metre freestyle ‘chose me’ but it was certainly me that ‘chose’ the event. A short, sharp sprint where I could push myself to the limit then get out and chat with my friends sounded excellent!
Joe has always enjoyed being in water too. Often Joe can spend a long time in the bath simply pouring water from one container to another. The satisfaction he gets from repeating this simple action is remarkable.
Recently Joe started swimming lessons. When I heard about this I briefly allowed myself to get carried away with dreams of following Joe around the world as he won gold medal after gold medal.
Back in the ‘here and now’, Joe has been learning how to hold his breath under water and use a float.
We might be a little way off Olympic medals but Joe does not care.
Neither do I.
At Joe’s house there is a hot tub. Joe is more than capable of swimming lengths in there. Joe is also very capable of thrashing my head around under water as if he is wrestling with a shark.
On the hot tub there are some dials that affect the jets. Joe knows what these are (and their importance) but is simply incapable of leaving them alone. He loves to move them round and experiment.
After all, we all learn through play at some points in our lives.
I fully appreciate that Joe offering to ‘service’ the hot tub in his own unique way does not help his parents when they embark on a relaxing dip only to be sprayed in the face by a jet of water.
I thought about writing this blog post when I watched ‘Richard and Jaco: Life With Autism’ on the BBC. In this programme the actor Richard Mylan introduces the world to Jaco (his son) and rather bravely reveals some of his innermost worries about what Jaco’s life will be like in the future.
Rather like Richard Mylan, I wonder what Joe’s life will be like in the future.
I would be lying if I said I was not worried about the future. However I must remember what a gift Joe is to the world.
He might not win an Olympic gold medal…but then not did I!