We Found Santa at the Pool!

by Tulika Prasad

The holiday season is the season of cheer and miracles and the most likely of places to find miracles is in the least likely of places. So guess where we found Santa…

At the pool !!!

It was the weekly swimming lesson we were at. This was an indoor pool of a hotel on a weekday and like most weeks, we were not expecting anyone in there.We walked in and saw another family in there. A mom, shuffling through some papers in a corner , a young girl lazing off in a small jacuzzi and a boy, almost my son’s age having fun in the pool. Like most of the times, I didn’t expect another child to acknowledge my son’s presence, let alone greet him but this turned out to be different. He came out of the pool and said Hi! to my son, asked him his name and smiled at him. My heart was already warming up. My son replied with a mumble and I then answered for him.

By then the swimming coach had arrived and we went ahead with our session. For a few weeks the coach had been struggling with getting my son to dip his head underwater. It seemed to stress him out and so he reached out and grabbed the little boy swimming close to him. I ran up to apologize when I noticed that the boy, instead of getting upset, was actually modelling for my son and telling him how to go underwater !!! To my and the coach’s utter surprise, my son followed, not once, not twice but three times, every time, following the little boy. Everyone in the room cheered and clapped and got excited. For a moment I forgot that those cheering for my son were complete strangers !!!! The session continued and the boy swam next to my son, chatting with him, instructing him, and modelling for him. Never earlier had I seen my son been so excited at a swimming lesson.I just wanted to stand there and watch while my eyes brimmed with tears of joy! As we finished the session, that little boy came up to me and said “please tell him that he did a great job! He will learn how to swim very soon.” I said a quiet Amen to that and suppress my urge to give that boy a tight hug, just thanking him for all that he did.

I’m used to my son passing unnoticed among kids, sitting in a corner, on his own, with no one to bother to play with him. I also notice the longing in my son’s eyes to be a part of the group. The smile and the joy that a 20 mins of companionship brought to my son is priceless and the little boy might not realize but he brought with him a sparkle of miracle to light up an ordinary day of my son’s life.

Santa does not always come on a reindeer in a red robe. Sometimes he comes at a pool in a swimming trunk and shares joy with everyone!

Tulika Prasad is mom to Vedant, a handsome young boy who was diagnosed with autism when he was 3. Among other things that have changed after the diagnosis is her perspective towards life. Together with her spouse, Ravish, she is enjoying bringing up her son who is teaching them new lessons every step of the way. She shares her family’s experiences, stories and tips on this unique journey with autism on her blog at www.braindroplets.com