Sunday, December 6, 2009


This afternoon Joey performed in his first music recital; he was one of about a dozen kids who performed.

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.


Lisa said...

I so hear you on this. What you may be feeling is a healthy dose of gratitude, mixed with a new clarity and a sense of belonging (for you and Finn). You're seeing a future that is different from what you may have initially wanted, but one that you can most definitely handle.

Those hugs, BTW, in your last post...the best. I ask Bridget to put her arms around my neck and "hug me tight" and she holds on for dear life. How would I get through a day without them?

heidi marie said...

i feel this way everytime i take henry to therapy and see all the different kids, some are diagnosed...some are "typical" with some type of delay. and i recently read an article, i think in time magazine, about how they think 1 in 3 kids now have some degree of autism. it just all goes to show that every kid IS different. and there are no guarantees with any kid. everyone has their own triumphs and stuggles!

Chrystal said...

I think I know what you mean. That feeling, those emotions.

My friend from HS is a piano teacher. She has a girl with Ds in her group and sent me photos from the recital. They made me cry happy tears.

Sharon said...

Totally agree with you and have felt the same way many times. An unexpected but surprisingly wonderful feeling.

Beth said...

I'm new to your blog, and I like what I've read so far...I am in total agreement about letting Finn learning things when he's ready to--therapy isn't all what it's all cracked up to be. You can lead a baby to a hallway but that doesn't make him want to walk. Finn is totally included in your family's child rearing traditions--don't cave in to the mainstream. My outlook is always, "I haven't screwed up THAT much yet, so I might as well keep going."

I also wanted to share a recent blog post of my daughter (11, Ds) playing at her holiday recital (Dec 13). Her current teacher never taught a child with special needs before. She keeps telling me that Hannah's not any different from any of her other students--they all screw up rhythm and don't get dynamics...nobody is really so different.