I think we're going to have to move to San Diego. Or Hawaii. Somewhere Leo can be in the waves every day. Leo's San Diego vacation week started with him staying up until 1:30 AM, stimming, vocalizing unhappily, physically out of sync*, asking to go home. Now that he's been to the beach every day for four days straight -- topped off with a session with a gold-standard, intuitive local ABA therapist -- he is talking a blue streak ("I don't have lemonade; I have a shirt!"), physically in sync, happy, balanced -- and his constant requests is to go to the beach, not back to our [four year old] "New House."
Leo got to have a hell of a "go to the beach?" day today, thanks to the luminous Autism Supermom, whom I got to meet at BlogHer, and who invited us to today's Surfers Healing surfing event!
I had heard about the organization before and about how wonderful it is for the participants, and Landon at ThAutcast recently wrote about The Swell Life, an Oprah show about the Surfers Healing founding family -- but I'd also heard it was near-impossible to get in, and our trips to San Diego aren't always planned in advance, so I never imagined Leo would be able to join up.
I know I overuse the phrase "best day ever," but when you have a kid like Leo -- a kid whose whole life is about how he keeps topping himself -- we have a lot of best day evers.
SURFERS HEALING WAS THE BEST DAY EVER.
Leo was thrilled from the moment he walked into the waves with his team (above). Then he rode out to the waves with his surfing buddy. Seymour and I sat on the beach, remarking on much Leo must be loving bobbing on the waves on the surf board, and how it wouldn't be long before he slipped into the brine.
It wasn't long, not at all.
And then ... Leo was back on the board. And the board was riding on a wave.
And then ... Leo did it! Our boy surfed!
It was so awesome. Leo came bounding out of the surf, bursting with the kind of giddy glee that is usually accompanied by prancing or the shooting of cannons. Widest grin ever, with giggles plus peals of laughter. So, so happy, our boy.
You can't quite see the happy here, because we had to make him come out of the water. But the momentarily absent happy is reflected in our faces, because when Leo's happy, we're happy for him.
You can see some of the happy, below, as he lolls in his beloved surf.
So proud of Leo. So grateful to Surfers Healing and Autism Supermom and all the amazing volunteers and excellent families and our community that makes such things happen.
*This is a euphemism, people.