Tonawanda News

Features

July 7, 2013

KEPPELER: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming ...

Tonawanda News — I try to stay upbeat in this space.

It’s not difficult, to be honest. I love my kids. The vast majority of the time, I love spending time with them. I like relating the stories, the quirks, the funny things they say and the lessons I’ve learned in eight-plus years of parenthood.

And while I have a son with special needs, our lives are not all about that. In fact, many times I forget about it. Jim is Jim, and that’s all there is to it. You roll with the punches, you adapt when necessary and you just plain live.

But every once in a while, something happens when life just smacks you in the face and says, “Stop. Things are different. You need to remember that.”

You learn to recognize those moments, and accept them. But they don’t get any easier.

We started swim lessons this week, in the Keppeler family, the first in which the boys would not have have a parent in the pool with them. My younger son plopped himself into the pool with alacrity, his trademark boundless confidence and no sign of fear. Other than that brief heart-in-the-throat moment when I glanced at the pool and realized that he was out in the middle, effectively swimming all by himself albeit with an instructor nearby all was well.

Jim was not happy. He adores the water. He wanted to swim. Weeks of repeating what day their respective lessons would take place were all for naught, as he dedicated himself to getting in the pool on Sam’s day. I just kept repeating what day he’d be going himself, talking and talking, and retrieved his brother from the water after a very successful first lesson.

And then it was his turn.

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