On Christmas Day last year, Charina and Ariel Giron received the best present imaginable as their son Miguel taught them a lesson in trust by letting him complete parkrun by himself.
For 23 years we have been very protective of Miguel and of any harm that may befall him, from both others and himself. Miguel has an intellectual disability and his behaviour can get aggressive and unpredictable sometimes whether in public or at home. Although very rare, it does happen. And triggers are random.
At parkrun, we always have one adult running with him. But today Ariel was Run Directing and I was volunteering handing out finish tokens so we told Miguel that he was going to stay with us at the start line as a cheerer.
Instead, he decided to go solo! He joined everyone else. When all the participants had left to do their 5Ks, Ariel and I looked at each other – “Where is Miguel?”
Normally, I would have freaked out. But not today. I don’t know why. I knew where our marshals were – Tasia was at the turnaround point and Sian was at the bubbler. I thought of calling them to ask them to please keep an eye on Miguel. But you know what, I didn’t. On any other day, I would have dropped everything and gone after him. But not today.
Today was different. Today Miguel, Ariel and I were finally READY. Everything felt natural. As soon as we decided that Miguel was safe and surrounded by people who knew and loved him (he is very popular at The Ponds), we LET IT GO.
We had a lesson in letting my son who lives with a disability go, in his own time, in the right community. A lesson in absolute trust.
I can hear Miguel say to me – “It’s OK mum. I’m going to be fine. I can handle my emotions. Please trust me!”
I’m going to cry now. This is the best Christmas present in the world.
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