Thirteen and a half years ago my oldest son, Oliver was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In a few weeks time he will turn 18, but unlike my expectations for my other two children he probably won’t go to college, drive a car or even live independently.
Since I found out about the fundraiser I have been reflecting on the similarities between what it takes to be a special needs parent and what it takes to be a successful crossfitter.
Parenting Oliver, especially when he was younger, was a lot like groundhog day. Do everything at the same time, in the same order, on the same day of the week. Things are a little more relaxed these days but consistency and routine makes our lives a lot easier and happier. Maybe that’s why I’ve rarely wavered from my crossfit schedule in 3 years! To feel comfortable, master the techniques and grow as a crossfitter you really do have to be consistent.
Commitment goes hand in hand with consistency. I am dedicated to helping my son be the best version of himself and achieve everything we think he is capable of. As a crossfitter I am committed to training hard, eating well, getting enough sleep and taking adequate time to recover. To help me function in both of these worlds I need to take care of myself.
Nothing worthwhile ever happens without putting in some hard work. Oliver can only ride a bicycle because of the many, many hours I spent teaching him, starting with alternately pushing his knees down until his brain caught up that he could use his feet on the pedals. Hard work, countless hours of practice and giving it your all as a crossfitter means you will get your first double under, pull up, handstand push up….. Oh yeah, see also consistency and commitment above!!
Obviously it’s hard to be consistent, committed and hard working if you’re not passionate about or love what you are doing. I love my son, so it’s not hard to be passionate about helping him, finding solutions and a way forward through talking to professionals, reading books and researching issues. I truly love crossfit and our community. I probably think and talk too much about exercise and diet and read too many blogs and watch too many videos on olympic weightlifting!! It’s good to have a passion though, yeah?!
The passion and love I use to help Oliver is fuelled by the compassion I receive from family, friends, neighbors, teachers, other special needs parents. It’s not a club you want to be a member of but it is so supportive, tolerant, caring and helpful despite how frustrating, tiring and sad we sometimes find life.
The compassion that I see in the crossfit community is also amazing and probably why I love it so much. New members are welcomed and accepted at our classes regardless of their current level of abilities and we all celebrate each others journey and successes as much as our own. Everyday when that 10 second countdown starts there is a true feeling of “we’re all in this together.”
I read a definition of grit that said it is “the perseverance and passion for long term goals.”
As both a special needs parent and crossfitter I’ve sometimes felt like I just want to crawl into a corner and cry, but I don’t. You learn to dig deep and find the strength to do what you’ve got to do, to move forward, get stronger and be the best you can be.
I hope to see many of you at the fundraiser on September 10.
- Coach Louise
Join us for the Lift Up Luke Fundraiser on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 11:00 AM, Sign up and order your shirt below!