Msk and I went to Boston for the Special Hockey tournament. Two years ago we went to Buffalo for a tournament, but this year was very different.
Two years ago I was tying to will msk to not skate into the net. I was hoping he could pull his attention away from the count-down timer. He skated fine, but comprehension of the point of the game was very low. Not that I'm complaining - I was thrilled, if a little nervous, that he was participating.
This year, along with a growth spurt, msk seems to finally want to get praise. This might seem like a strange concept to some, but compliments in the past have never been a motivator for him. You wouldn't believe how hard this makes it to encourage (or discourage) behaviors. Up to now it's all been about what msk wanted to do by himself, for himself. But this year he scored two goals and after getting praised he repeated to himself "I'm a good hockey player." It's the kind of moment that chokes me up even months later.
Then, add in the freeing feeling of being with people who were happy to cut msk some slack if he melted down or couldn't stand still waiting in line. No angry glares when he threw his hockey bag down the stairs. You get used to the stares to the point that you forget what it feels like to just relax. And everybody cheers for everybody, because even the simplest task is someone's major milestone. So many smiles.
He grows more mature and I grow more accepting. It was really a quite wonderful five days.