The last boy to perform was about 12 or 13 years old, and I'm guessing he had autism. He wouldn't make eye contact with anyone (not even his parents who brought him), and he seemed to have a lot of tics, and some speech issues. He played two pieces by Bach on the piano. And it's not even that he was that great, but he certainly played with enthusiasm.
I was standing just outside the large room where the kids were performing, holding a fussing Finn so as not to disturb the performers, when this kid and his parents arrived. So I kind of had an observer's vantage point, and I saw how the parents sat him down in a chair until it was his turn, how they tried to shush him when he spoke too loudly, and how he suddenly grabbed his crotch and told his mom that he had to pee, and so she led him away to the restroom, like it was no big deal.
Watching him and his parents, and watching him perform on the piano . . . there were so many emotions running through me in that short time. And I'm not sure I can name a single feeling I had. I know I was blinking back tears, though. But I didn't feel sad, not at all.
I know that one of the fleeting thoughts I had was a sudden urge to thank the piano teacher (who is also Joey's and Daisy's piano teacher). She's teaching piano to a kid with autism! Do you know what that means? It means that maybe some day she or someone else will teach piano to Finn.
I know that whatever diagnosis this boy has is completely different from Finn's Down syndrome. But I find myself feeling an automatic affinity these days to people with disabilities, and their families.
I think what made me feel so good about seeing this boy today was just feeling like we're all people, just doing our thing, you know? Nobody's really so different.