November 15, 2009

The State Bowling Competition

As I continue to chronicle a year in the life of my extraordinary daughter, I realized we have hit another milestone. Bowling season is over!!

Not that I will miss driving the 45 minutes each way to take her to bowling practice. I also try to avoid driving to Denver in the sudden snow storms that happen in the mountains. In most cases I do not have to get somewhere – but the other night I needed to met Alex and her team in Denver. Getting over two mountain passes behind truckers with chains can take a very long time in a snowstorm.

I am glad to move on to the next and skiing this winter. Then finally, the sport we have been so excited about - track and field – and the National Special Olympics Games in Lincoln on July 18th. Sometimes time passes so slowly – yet before I know it, we will be in Nebraska and my narrative will end.

The state competition consisted of three games; Alex bowled a combined score of 216. This was not one of her best matches. Alex usually has two strikes and a spare or two during each game. On Saturday, I saw more gutter balls in three games, than I did the entire season. However, I am enormously proud of Alex. She kept her smile on, high fived her teammates and won a silver medal.

I had expected a scene similar to the regional games after Lucy died. Alex cried during the entire competition. It was amazing to me that she could even see the pins with all those tears in her eyes. At this competition, Alex did not have her meltdown until after the medal ceremony. Improvement in some ways – already!

After the ceremony, Alex headed to the far corner of the bowling alley and broke down. She cried so hard, she was shaking and it broke my heart. Many of her friends, and friends’ parents tried to console Alex, but she really was too upset to listen.

She did not want me or John near her – and I think she really needed to cry. I felt so helpless, but I knew my sweet, sensitive daughter needed her own space. I watched from as close as I could get, without being busted by Alex.

Alex said to her friends she was upset because the football players told her to “bring home the gold”. I do not believe this for a second. I believe this was the easiest thing for Alex to verbalize. She told me she missed her grandpa, this I believe. Alex weeps for her grandpa and is mourning in her own way and fashion.

As the other families began taking about lunch – I approached Alex to see if she wanted to join. I knew this would work as lunch involves food – when she asked if she could have a cheeseburger and fries – I broke a cardinal rule – I said yes. Voila – tears gone – Alex returned.

Everyday, I learn more and more about my remarkable daughter – her kindness, thoughtfulness and caring. I believe I have learned to be a better person; I try to have more patience and compassion. I attempt to understand and not jump to conclusions. I have learned that Alex is like me and our family in so many ways – but she is also different. I have learned to respect her difference and try to allow her to shine. It is a wonderful journey.

One last comment- I will be very glad when Alex has processed her sorrow. We will all miss grandpa forever – but I am hoping that she will be able to keep him in her heart in a happy place, just like us. I guess we can only wait and see – and share!

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