Eli’s Lids donates 10% of our profits to a great organization called Surfers Healing (read more about them here). Every once in a while we get to hear a little about the amazing things Surfers Healing is up to… from the people who matter most – lil’ Surfers and their families!
Below is a guest post from a friend about her moving experience with Surfers Healing…
I’m a 47 year old mother of 4 – 3 girls aged 24 to 10 and my handsome Michael, age 5. At 3 Michael was diagnosed with Autism, or "on the spectrum" but high functioning. Some days it seems like we spend more time on the spectrum then others.
Working full time I don’t do many of Michael’s activities. Hubby is responsible for physical therapy, speech therapy, social skills, regular check ups, sick visits, you name it he drives to it! My responsibility is locating things for Michael to do. Anything that is free or within our means that will give him new experiences and awaken the senses. Lucky for me I have a close friend who told me about Surfer’s Healing. I immediately researched, sat online and waited for the reservation day. When we got accepted to an outing in San Diego we were so happy. Not Michael, he was not into it at all.
Lots of questions followed. Will the waves be big or small..small of course. Will there be sharks? NO!!! Will I be cold? Probably, but I will have a towel for you. I’m scared. Me too Michael, but it will be ok and so much fun.
The Wednesday we drove down to San Diego Michael was very apprehensive. Same set of questions, a lot of I’m not doing it. Then silence. When we got to the beach and saw all the people Michael remained quiet. There was an older boy crying by the crashing waves….not good. So we decided to move our little family away from the crowds a bit so that the crying wasn’t infectious.
Michael took out his sand toys and began to play, never asking when he would go. We listened to speeches and watched the other kids hang ten. Some of the kids had great results, some not so much. All the while I was making eye contact with the other parents and giving them the "smile". That "I get it" smile, the "I feel your pain" smile.
When it was Michael’s turn we walked him over to the tent to get his wetsuit and life vest. He talked a little with the young lady who was helping him, but never with us. What struck me as strange was that once he was preparing to go into the water he never looked at us. He took the girl’s hand and walked straight down to the water. He never looked back, he never said no, he never dragged his feet. Just straight to the water to wait for his surfer.
When the surfer came he took Michael’s hand and he looked at us and said don’t worry he’s going to do great! Then they were gone. The waves seemed to get bigger, they seemed to go out farther then anyone else. So far that for a minute we lost track of him. Then suddenly there he was standing on the board, not really balancing but standing there. The surfer was holding his jacket by the shoulders, then he let go and Michael was doing it on his own. It was amazing.
I of course, started to cry and couldn’t look at my husband. My husband said nothing just had a big smile on his face. Michael rode the wave all the way in. We all cheered his success. He only did two rides that day, but they were long rides on big waves. His surfer buddy said that Michael was so groovy out in the ocean…yes he used the word groovy. And that he really enjoyed himself.
His sisters told him that I cried. He was concerned and asked why. I told him that I was so proud of him, that my tears were from happiness. He hugged me and asked me if I was proud of him. I told him yes so very proud. He said he didn’t want to do it again, because he was ready to move on to wakeboarding!
He is totally groovy!
Thank you Millie for writing this post! I feel like I was standing right next to you on the beach… sobbing with pride!