July 27, 2010
We arrived at the Office before the bus. It was nice to greet all the smiling athletes as they got off the bus. Alex was no exception, she was grinning ear to ear. She was able to hug or say goodbye to everyone on the team and yelled “see you all later” from the car window as we pulled away.
This was probably the last smile I saw. We have been home for three days and Alexis grumpy, rude and obstinate. She does not want to go swimming or visit friends, two of her favorite activities. She spends the days in her room listening to music, which is her therapy and medicine.
I know exactly what is happening with Alex. I have seen this many times before, but this is the most extreme. Alex spent 7 days as a VIP, the center of attention and a valued member of the Team Colorado Community. She was praised, respected, and honored. Now she is home and back to her normal life. She knows this is not the reception she will have when she starts school in four weeks. The adrenaline that kept her going has been depleted. She has crashed.
I really am not surprised by this reaction. I wish it were different; I wish we were basking in the aftermath of a successful and fun filled week. We will, but only after Alex has decompressed. I often try to predict Alex’s moods and I more often than not, I am successful. I know from experience her ability to filter out happiness and sadness is different than the rest of my family. She does not seem to be able to examine the why behind her moods and only reacts to the feelings. In many cases, when disappointed Alex can become physically ill.
I know this is part of the wirings of this extraordinary person. Sometimes she is so transparent and pure it energizes me. Sometimes she is so rude and obstinate is frustrates me. In any case, she is true to herself and her emotions. She is honest and untainted by the world around her. Perhaps there is a lesson in this for all of us.
I know Alex will “recover” in a few days. The proud athlete who competed with her best times ever at the 2010 National Games will return. As is the case with almost everything in Alex’s life; it just takes a little longer.