Adam has been a part of Special Olympics since high school. He has done track and field, bowling, bocci, softball and basketball but the one that as really caught his fancy is equestrian.
Adam loves horses. He tells everybody from sales clerks to bank tellers that he is in Special Olympics Equine. He tells me every time we talk on the phone. He tells me every thirty minutes when we are together. He tells my friends. We all know that Adam is in Special Olympics and that he gets to ride horseback.
This is what the equine competition is like for Adam. There is a show ring with various logs placed on the ground. They are like very, very short jumps. Adam sits on the back of his horse and an aide leads the horse through the course at a slow, sedate walk, calmly stepping over the logs, the fake jumps.
Adam is so happy to be able to do this. This is his joy and it breaks my heart.
I do not have a good attitude about all this. Other families go to Special Olympics and cheer their special persons on. They seem so natural. They are comfortable there. I am just now barely able to go to these events without crying. All I see is everybody’s broken heart, their broken child.
We love these people and they love us back and they are having so much fun at Special Olympics. I wish that I could join in because these are my people. This is my tribe and as I go about my days, I see more and more children bringing their families into my tribe. There is the awkward boy at the supermarket who rocks a bit next to his father, or a younger boy whose fluttering hands look like birds about to fly away. They are everywhere, with their vacant look standing next to the protective stance of the people who love them.
During the second world war, the Nazis strove for their monstrous view of racial purity. Before they tried to exterminate Jews and Gypsies and Arabs and Russians, they tried to wipe my people off the face of the Earth. There were posters showing how the “mentally deficient” stole food from the mouths of good, hard-working Germans.
They had to be subtle because even Hitler couldn’t withstand a hundred weeping Aryan mothers outside his door. But, before he himself was put down, he managed to kill between seventy-five to two hundred and fifty thousand of my people and destroy 250,000 families in the process, not to mention sterilizing half a million.
They stood on their platforms deciding the fate of the innocents and never saw the exquisite and tragic beauty of a young man, my beaming angel, being led around a show ring on the back of a horse.