|Time to put the Game-Face on|
While I admired her pluck, and her bravery in the face of almost certain peril (There could be peril...at least some) something made me pause for more than a moment. I told her I'd have to think about it, and I'd let her know, and hung up on her, probably rather rudely.
As I was hesitating, I had to wonder why I was even hesitating. Dude would love it, he'd be with his buddies, the teachers and coaches would all be experience people. Most of them would know David or at least have heard about him (Rockstar: remember?) and would, no doubt be able to handle him. I mean they, or their clones handle Dude or more every day. And, as an extra bonus, there would be new elevators. Then it struck me. I had never, never allowed anyone I didn't personally know take David anywhere, ever. (I try not to imagine what happens at his mom's) The only person not directly related to him that I've even allowed to have him overnight is Raine. And she's the only one I have no qualms about him staying with. And this would be 4 days, hundreds (150) of miles away without any direct contact at all. He could be wreaking havoc across the countryside, and I'd never know. And besides, I'd miss him.
Raine and Dude getting to the school has been kind of problematic at times, so this time when they were gliding up the hill to Friendship Ridge, Raine asked David facetiously, 'Dave, is this the way to school?' The immediate reply? 'NOOOOO! NO!! No school!' Raine countered with, 'Dude, we have to go to the school to get on the bus to go to State College.' Dude can change direction quicker than a weather-vane in a tornado, 'Oh... Sorry! My Bad! My Bad!' and as they got closer to the turn... 'Right here! Turn here for the bus to go to STATE COLLEGE!!!' I guess her DPS (Dude Positioning System) recalibrated... or at least recalculated. Anyway, Raine managed to corral a very exited Dude at least long enough to remember to get his bag in the Big White Tour Bus (told you he's a Rock Star) and got him on his way.
So, there I was. Voluntarily Dudeless for the first time ever. (Visitation doesn't count-not voluntary) I spent the whole day absent-mindedly going about my business. That night, after intense discussion with my Spiritual Guru (Raine) I decided that I was going to hop the next motorcycle to State College and watch some Olympic glory. (Hey... I told you I'd miss him)
After the longest motorcycle ride of my career, I finally made it to State College only to find out that I wasn't really wanted there... It wasn't the coaches. They were just confused (but pleased) that I showed up after I'd said I wasn't going to. Although I must have explained 6 times that I wasn't there because of them, or Dude, I was there because I couldn't not be there (yeah, I know, double negative. pththththth!), and that I was merely an observer. Nope, the one that tried to kick me out was my own dear, sweet son, David. (I'm changing my will) When told, 'Dad is here!' he replied, 'NOOOOOOOOOOO!' and took off.... After he was tracked-down, lasooed, hogtied, and returned, I explained, 'I'm not taking you anywhere! I just want to watch!' (Lo, how the mighty control-freak has fallen) then he proceeded to pretty much ignore me for the next 36 hours. You know, since I wasn't actually there.
|...and you do the Hokey-Pokey...|
The coaches also had my number... and they used it. Turns out there was something I could do at SO... I could watch Dude have fun. There was a get-together for all the athletes where they played games, danced, won prizes and generally had a hell of a time. After finding a motel and the only cloud that was actually raining in PA. (Hail hurts at 60 on a bike) I made my way back to the Olympic Village (dorms). When I got there Dave was doing the Hokey-Pokey and had already worn out one 'coach' and was well on his way to out dancing a second. When Ms. Neidbala had finally had enough (and lost one pair of sunglasses. Which Dude gave back later), she tried to interest him in a game with about 20 other kids, a ball, and a parachute, but that didn't last very long. So, she succumbed to the inevitable and gave Dave her extra iPhone so she could take a break. Other than another (brief) dancing session, that's how Dude spent the rest of the evening, perfectly contented with all his activities. I returned to my room, slightly jealous, but just about to explode with happiness at seeing David finally getting to be completely Dude, without Dads, or anyone else trying to contain him (much).
The next day, much rested, and ready for battle I returned to the track. Dude's first event was the 50 meter dash, but it was going to be a while before it started. Jemma (the Dude-wrangler) had implemented a clever scheme. If Dude listened and was good for 45 minutes he could have the iPhone for 15... and it worked! But the time finally came for the 50 meter.
he'll do to get one. So I was a bit nervous about the race, because State Special Olympics takes a dim view on some of his practices. But the race started without any troubles and Dude was off in a flash! The only one that was close to him was a big kid a couple of lanes over, but David wasn't going to lose this race! Now normally there's a line of parents/timekeepers/coaches/helpers at the finish line to help the kids know when to stop. At State no one but the officials were allowed on the field and they timed the race from trackside. So when David and the Big Kid (never caught his name) reached the finish line in a fever of competition, neither of them noticed it. Neither one was going to let the other win the race if they could help it. So on they tore past the finish line and around the corner with the two, seemingly fit, high-school volunteers racing after them vainly. By the time the first one had caught up to Dude, he'd actually already won another 50 meter race.
|The Winna! and still Champeen!|
|Hail to the King, baby..|
|I did what?|
So that was it. The rest of the Team had already finished their events. Once Dude was done all that was left was to gather everything up and get ready to go back to the Village for a bit more frivolity before the closing ceremonies and bus ride home the next morning. Oh... and for Dude-Dad to fade into the sunset on his motorcycle. And so that's what I did, full of good, warm fuzzy feelings at seeing my son run rampant, for a time, in a situation totally geared for acceptance of who and what he was. A society for the Asocial. A little sad too, knowing he was leaving the next day for his 'Visitation' and I'd have to be the 'bad guy' when Dave got home from visiting his mother. Then I realized I was just feeling sorry for myself, and, unlike Dude, was missing a Wonderful Day of my own. So that's what I did, enjoyed the day, the ride, and the thought of many Wonderful Days to come.