autism,  cross-country,  exercise,  family,  teen years

A little Christmas story

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and are enjoying a lovely holiday season! I just thought I’d take a moment and post one of my favourite little stories of kindness we’ve experienced in the week or two leading up to the holiday.

J has been a champ when it comes to his first season of winter running. Most of December has been pretty cold, and despite the wind, snow, and sometimes single digit temps (or below -15C), J’s done a good job sticking through it all. I’ve said this before–running is one of the greatest life lessons out there, and one of those lessons i that you keep running no matter what the weather’s like.

The hard part for J and winter running is that he really doesn’t have a running buddy or small little pack to keep up with like he did throughout most of XC season because the kids who show up for winter running are–you guessed it–the really fast, really dedicated, really strong athletes on the team. J is always sandwiched in the middle–straggling behind the power pack of boys and ahead of most of the girls–which is why I’m still tagging along with him after school. At 4:30/5:00 pm it’s dark, the roads are usually slick, and I don’t like him running by himself for all those reasons.

During the last two weeks, J has really, really wanted to keep up with the power pack. In fact, the last few runs, J has been going all out at the beginning trying to keep up–he wants to chat with him about the quirky things he likes to talk about. He really just doesn’t want to be left behind.

I’ve watched this pattern throughout the last few runs–J will give it all he’s got and keep up with the pack for about a half mile and then, since he’s used up everything, he ends up trailing farther and farther behind. J really has no concept of pacing or the whole mental game of running and he gets really frustrated and really tired when he falls back.

One afternoon run–probably one of the coldest runs we’ve had–one of the boys in the pack decided to hang back with J a little longer so J had someone to run with. He stuck with J for almost a full mile, and then had to work extra hard to get back up to the group he normally trains with. It was really sweet to see this kid sacrifice a little of his training that day for J. J loved it and ate up every second of it. I know I’ve posted about this a dozen times already, but I’m really, really grateful for all of the great kids J gets to spend time with after school and the kindness they show him every day. This is one of our Christmas stories of the season, but in reality, and thankfully, moments like this happen every week, every month, and every year.

Here are some pictures of our holiday shenanigans. I hope you all have wonderful shenanigans of your own this holiday season. It’s so crazy to think the next post will be in 2017 already!

J got an iPod nano for Christmas. Hands down his favourite gift.
W and me sporting our Christmas cracker crowns.
The rule was that everyone had to pose with their cracker prize.
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