This was originally written in December, 2011.
This past Saturday Tate was in our church’s Sunday School Christmas program. The kids have been learning the songs since September.
Hubz and I went into the concert with much trepidation. There are so many outside stimuli, and any one thing could throw Tate into a downward spiral. The lighting was harsh, there were about 45 kids between the age of 3 and 6 on stage, crying younger siblings peppered the audience, the whir of the fan in the gym, the smells from the treat table, the lack of his favorite aide, and the list went on.
We sat in the back row. We came at the last possible moment prior to the concert, so as not to ratchet up his anxiety as he waited in the classroom. We held our breaths as the kids took the stage.
As Tate awkwardly climbed onto the highest riser with his classmates, I watched him scan the crowd. He found us and waved. He rocked ever so slightly as the other kids settled into place. They put him on the end. Umm…is he going to fall? He doesn’t always pay attention. One of the aides stood behind Tate and helped keep him calm. The music director spoke. The group started caterwalling singing. Tate kept up! He sang some words. True, he rocked from side to side, but not in an out-of-control way. YES!!!
The director had the kids find their families and then wave. Tate looked at us, raised his hand, and he freakin’ waved. AT US! My kid…the one who doesn’t follow 2-part directions?!? He WAVED.(He also gave all 4 of us a shout out!! I won’t perseverate on the fact that he also shouted to diapers….really.)
Tate managed to sing with his classmates for the duration of the concert. Sometimes he sang loudly, other times he was just keeping the beat. However, he kept up. There was no crying, no whining, no attempt to bust off of the stage. He didn’t shout echolalic phrases over his peers. He didn’t act out. He was part of the group and was able to attend through the whole thing!!
This concert? Just one more example of how far our kid has come in 12 months. The hours of therapy, the medications, the team meetings with his specialists and teachers…they all made this possible. For the first time in a long time we experienced a family outing without all of the drama. It was a Christmas miracle…and we loved it.
The look of pride and accomplishment he had on his face was more than enough to keep my cup full for a while. And he knew how proud we were of him, too. It was awesomeness all around.
I love his successes. They give him confidence. They give us hope.