Sunday, February 08, 2015

One night in December

For almost everyone in attendance, it would have been nothing very remarkable.  One child, just one of thirty or so on the stage, singing, ringing his bell, and making hand motions with all the other kids as they sang along to "O Come All Ye Faithful" during the Christmas program at the county Christian school.

But remarkable, it was.  To those who had seen him the year before stand with his back to the crowd the entire time, not moving or saying a word.  And the year before that had watched him put his hands over his face and cast his head downward, again not uttering a sound.

There I sat, in the audience, more teary-eyed than any parent or grandparent who was there.  Because I knew how far he had come.  I had been through the days of not being able to understand what he was saying even though he was trying so hard.

To watch a child struggle, to speak or to do any other seemingly simple task, melts away whatever hardness might be inside you.  It puts life in perspective in a way only a few things can.

I thought of his mother.  She who repeatedly told doctors something wasn't right until they finally listened.  She who still spends hours on the phone fighting with the insurance company as they try to deny coverage of his therapy.  And she who makes the 90-minute round-trip three times a week so that he can receive what she believes is the best-available help for his apraxia.

I looked over at her, sitting in the next section, her 5-foot-1 frame having to strain to see over the people in front of her.  She had a smile as wide as the building.  It's the smile she always has when she is trying not to cry.

She had struggled with whether to put him in public school, eventually deciding against it.  She started him here in hopes that he would get more attention.  It was a hard decision.  We were public school kids.  But if there were still any doubt, this night was absolute validation she had made the right choice. 

A little later we listened as one of the older kids, a young man who had overcome autism, stood in front of the audience and read the Christmas story.

When the program ended, I high-fived my nephew and told him how proud I was of him.  He seemed rather unimpressed by it all.  I thought of his great aunt, a wonderful and kind southern woman he would never really get a chance to know, lying in rest twenty minutes away.

A couple of days before, she had slipped from this realm of sickness and dying.  Her visitation was the same night of his program.

His uncle and her nephew, I managed to make it to both.

Life was beautiful. And sad.

"Some of it's magic / Some of it's tragic / But I had a good life all the way..."

21 comments:

  1. I had smiles, goosebumps and tears throughout this post. I'm so sorry for the loss of your aunt but so happy that your sister is such a successful advocate for her boy. What a sweet moment. Life does indeed give and take.

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  2. Wonderful write. Congratulations to Nephew Bone and his mom, and condolences on your loss.

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  3. wonderful post, Bone. You have a knack at catching what's important about life!

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  4. I've never heard of apraxia but thanks to your wonderful story, I do now. Ditto what Sage said!

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  5. Life was beautiful. And sad.

    As is this post.

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  6. Hilary ~ I appreciate those kind words.

    Heidi ~ Thanks, Heidster.

    Sage ~ Thank you. As my vision gets worse, my perspective seems to improve. Funny how that works.

    Ed ~ I had never heard of it, either, before my nephew came along.

    TC ~ Aww, thanks :)

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  7. Wonderfully written! Life is bittersweet, for sure. It's beautiful that your nephew is happy in his skin without thinking about it.

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    1. Thank you. That's a wonderful way to put it.

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  8. congratulations to your nephew and his Mum, great that he's progressing so well

    Sorry for your loss

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    1. Thank you. And thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Lovely to read this. I worked Sp Ed for years.

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  10. very touching. bless you and congrats on your POTW.

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    1. Thanks so much. And thanks for visiting.

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  11. I guess my comment didn't take.

    This was, as usual, very beautiful and so glad your nephew is doing so well. Wonderful portrait of your sister.

    Sorry about ATD.

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    1. Thank you.

      I've had trouble commenting on some blogs, as well, to the point that I now copy my comment before I hit publish in case I have to try again.

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  12. You got hit from both ends of life--the beauty and the loss. The way you share them here brings us into it with you. Oh, man.

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    1. There were a myriad of emotions that night, to say the least. Thanks for the comment.

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  13. So exciting to hear about his progress!! I know you're proud!

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    1. Oh, no doubt. He got a "Best grade in the class!" comment on some of his school work this week.

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  14. "Through eyes of Love, we see greatness where others see weakness." - DP
    Tough day, sorry for your loss.

    well written piece.

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