My son Riley has always been a little different. He has been a fussy eater since birth. He has always been a champion tantrum thrower, even now! He tends to be over sensitive. He doesn't click well with people and he can seem anti-social. He has a temper on him that drives me insane. But he can be incredibly caring and sweet. He is really funny. He is pretty smart and has a great imagination. I love how at almost 7 he is still cuddly and snugly with his Mummy.
Since Jason's death Riley's extreme behaviours have become worse, understandably so. But we have been to grief counselling and I have noticed a vast improvement in both his behaviour and his confidence. I'm not putting it all down to the counselling, I am putting it mostly down to his school, and maybe a little bit me!
Last year at school they had some cricket guys come and give the kids a few lessons. They sent home a note asking who wanted to join up for the cricket season. Riley came home so excited about joining cricket! It was the first sport that he showed an interest in so I jumped on the opportunity to encourage him to get involved in a team sport.
Next week will be the last game of the cricket season. Riley has LOVED it. He has had his moments where he has cried because he couldn't hit or catch the ball but his coach has been BRILLIANT. He just picks him up and pops him back into it. I have noticed that over the season Riley's confidence has grown tenfold. The last few weeks they have broken the kids up into skill groups rather than school teams and there have been a couple of evenings that Riley has been put with a bunch of kids he doesn't know. Well the Riley I have known since he was born would have cried and wanted out of that kind of situation. The new confident Riley carried on with no problems, joining in with the new group without incident.
His confidence has grown so much that I was pleasantly surprised when he came home and told me had signed up for the Ripper Rugby school Tournament. I jumped on that opportunity too and went along as transport and was AMAZED at my confident son who got stuck in and played along well with his team mates.
In both the cricket and rugby situations Riley was the smallest guy in the team. But the Kamo kids have blown me away with their team spirit. Not once has Riley been made fun of for not been as skilled as the rest. They are encouraging, helpful, supportive and caring towards each other. When Riley wasn't sure what to do he got help. When he got upset they tried to make him feel better. When he succeeded they cheered him on. I am so grateful for the values that Kamo Primary are teaching their students. It was amazing to see at the Ripper Rugby how mean so many of the other schools were. No sportsmanship, sore losers and really rude. I was so proud of my sons team who shook hands and said "Good Game" to the team that walked past saying "You Suck"
In a couple of weeks Riley is going off to his first school camp. I am worried because of all the new situations he will be put in. I am worried that there might be a few typical "Riley" moments over food or activities. I am worried because he is my son!! But seeing him at the ripper rugby and at cricket is making me slightly more confident that he will be able to deal better with these new situations. And regardless of how he reacts I know that his classmates and teachers won't exclude or ridicule him for his behaviour. That makes me smile.
I am really loving the young man my boy is developing into. Ever since Jase died I have been worried that he would miss out on so much. It's important for a little boy to have a Daddy. Jase was an awesome one. But I feel more confident in the fact that even though Jase isn't around Riley will still grow up to be a strong, independent and Handsome man like his Dad was. And I know that Jase would be awful proud of his boy right now too.