One of the things that our family does: run. We are not talking about Olympic Athletes, but we get out on the weekends, during the week and we run. We go from 5k to 10k and up to half marathon distance. A huge part of these runs, besides my husband, is our oldest son and our youngest son. We are teaching them something that can be a mental health relief and physical health boundary that can go on for the rest of their lives.
In March of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic and three months into my husband's deployment, our family received a diagnosis of our youngest son, Rafe, for Autism and a Severe Language Disorder at three years old. A devastation set in, thinking about the hopes and dreams we had for him and the guilt of "we did something wrong". While none of that is true, it still comes in for that parent guilt. How did we manage? We ran. Our oldest son and I put Rafe in the jogging stroller and we ran on our local trail. My husband ran, a half a world away.
On our runs, it is more than just the times and the miles we need to accomplish. It is the animals we see in the river that Rafe can now point out by name. It is the fox tails, growing in the summer, that we stop for Rafe to pick and wave as a wand on our continuing run. It is having those moments where Rafe hops in and out of the jogging stroller to be able to participate with us but have a place to rest once he goes his distance.
Outside of running, the jogging stroller is a safe place for Rafe and a place of rest. On runs, walks, trips to the zoo, out of town vacations, Rafe can climb into the stroller and surround himself with his blanket and "friends" (we call stuffies friends as in, we treat our friends with kindness and gentle hands). If he becomes overstimulated by noise or people, he can climb in and have his space. This in turn, creates a place of rest for when that big world and those big feelings lead to a nap.
The jogging stroller that we currently own has become too small for Rafe. He is maxing out in both height and weight. Running is in our family and how we bond. Travel is in our family and how we bond. We are hoping to bring home this adaptive stroller so that we can continue this healthy lifestyle and many adventures to come, while supporting Rafe in the best possible way.
If you have any questions, please let me know.