22 March 2011

Happy Consequences

You know the saying about closed doors and opened windows. I'm not convinced this is always true. Sometimes when a door closes it just stays shut. Then you have to find another prepositional way out. However, I do believe in the ripple effect, the idea that our actions have consequences.

"Consequences" has become a scary word. This probably has something to do with authority figures, and the idea of "appropriate" behavior. But sometimes, there's a happy consequence to an event. This blog is such a thing-the result of a series of cascading decisions made after I received a book from my mother. Who knew a simple gift could have such an impact on my life?

This Saturday, Four had his final basketball game. It was rescheduled from the day our town flooded, and the kids had to be evacuated from their schools. Frankly, I don't know why they couldn't just let the season end, but I'm not the guy in charge.

Four was not in the mood to play. I'd reminded him about the game Friday night, but the cousins were over, he was having fun, and definitely did not get enough sleep. All this combined to create a very obstinate Four.

I got him in the van, but he complained the whole way to the game. I got him out of the van, but he refused to go in the gym. The Captain was the sole coach that day, so I felt like we couldn't abandon him. Only four other boys showed up from our team, so they really needed Four to play. But he was having none of it. He tried to run away, but I just gripped his wrist tighter.

 "Man!" he asked, after a few minutes of struggling, "How did your hands get that strong?"
"You're not my first runner," I answered wearily.
I don't know why I still struggle with his behavior, when I understand the underlying cause. You know, he's AUTISTIC. Really, sometimes I'm the dumb-ass.

It became obvious from the insult-strewn, escalating bad behavior that he wasn't going to change his mind. The Captain didn't want Four's last game to be a horrible experience; we're overjoyed he made it through the season. The other coach agreed to play four-on-four, so our guys could compete. And then, we had the brilliant idea to ask Five if he wanted to fill in. He looked nervous, but I could tell he wanted to try. We went to the bathroom, and he switched shirts with his brother. I kissed him for luck, and went home with Four.

When Five got home, he gave me the play-by-play. He told Dad he was nervous, but wanted to try. He got a pass from Randy, and it hit him right in the chin, but he kept playing! He got another pass, and gave one back! He had a rebound! He shot for a basket, and it almost went in!  On one of his trips past the bench, he yelled to the Captain, "Hey, I don't think I'm doing too bad!"

Five has two more years before he will play on a real team. But this day he played because his brother was unable, played although he was nervous, played despite an injury. And he proved that he is light-years removed from the tremulous boy who first entered school two years ago. I hope he will remember this day as a personal triumph.

For us, it was an unexpected, happy, consequence.


  1. A "No Fail" and a great sporting experience?! Yay, Five!

  2. Yay, yay, yay my Five. What a sport! I'm so proud. Give him hugs from MM. And hugs for Four too.

  3. Yay, Five!

    And all my sympathies and empathies for Four's rough day.

  4. Anonymous22.3.11

    What everyone else said. We take our "true" wins where we can find them.
    And, I'd also like to add, good job Mom, on knowing when to grab and when to let go. THAT is sometimes the hardest part.

  5. Go Five! I like how you've managed to turn a negative into a positive, Megan. Nice job!

  6. Happy for Five! Empathy for Four, and for YOU. Son 2 has been known to exhibit similar stubbornness-- where he decides well in advance that he will not do something and there's just no getting around it. It can be exhausting and draining and disappointing. Quick thinking on your part, though, creating a new opportunity for Five.

  7. Holy Cow that is awesome! I know you know this, but knowing your limits is just as vital as recognizing your potential. I'm glad you got Four out of there and that Five took a chance and impressed himself! Major Mama Triumph!

    I have visions of myself in a similar situation being a grouchy, cussing, stubborn parent who does myself no credit...

  8. Yay for Five! (And for you!) This is an awesome story.

  9. I love this post! Cheers for Five! I'm thrilled for him.

    What a wonderful outcome to a difficult situation. It was definitely a brilliant decision. You and the Captain are geniuses!

  10. Wonderful victory for everyone!

    I particularly liked "Mom! How did your hands get that strong?"

  11. @Skye - I loved that part, too! "You're not my first runner." Elmore Leonard couldn't have done it better! Megan, you should try the detective genre after you've taken the romance world by storm.

  12. @Janet: I'm not clever enough to write crime novels, but I could dream up an awesome detective. Tall, dark, wears a hat...oh, wait, that's "Justified."

    @Lora: My aim is to save you the cussing. Let me make all the mistakes, so you can learn from them!


Thanks for reading! Unlike other Diaries, this one isn't private. Feel free to share your thoughts. Politely, of course.