~"I pity the fool"~ Mr. T .
I was reading a post the other day where a mother stated "I don't believe people when they say they don't want sympathy for their child's disability. Check the thesaurus, sympathy isn't a bad thing." No, sympathy properly expressed isn't a bad thing. In this case however, defining sympathy with synonyms is. Sympathy simply put is "pity". I can say with absolute certainty that I do not want pity because of my children's disabilities. That's just well...icky. I mean really-pity? How absolutely insulting. Not just to me-but to my kids. If you want to pity me-do it for something worthwhile like a dental appointment or having to go to one of the kids school concerts. I'll gladly accept it then.
Speaking of which, This week I went to Oscars Christmas concert. Unlike the last concert, I was not armed with a designated driver and Valium. I didn't even have Zoe as a distraction. I was all by myself. A woman-alone. The only positive I could think of (besides Oscar performing) was that there was a new music teacher. Yes, the woman who had brought us the "Greatest unknown hits of 17...(yes, the year 17) has retired!! Not that I mean any disrespect. She was a lovely person who I learned much from-and it wasn't just patience! I mean who could forget the woman who brought us the same exact Christmas show for the past five years? I certainly didn't know that carols could also be dirges! I'll always look back fondly on Sammy's recorder angst and who could forget "The gingerbread slave" ? Good times...good times. She was a lovely lovely woman...I do believe that she truly cared about teaching music. I just think she got tired of it a few years before actually retiring from it. I wish her well.
This concert was different. I knew it from the moment I got there. I immediately went to find Oscar to let him know I had arrived-and he was acting odd. He was so tense. Usually the boy hops when he sees me..or at least smiles. He just sat there very stiffly-barely turning his head to acknowledge me. I thought "O.K.-he's almost ten now..maybe he's too cool for his mom"-at least in front of his friends. so I went and took my usual place-at the back of the room...in the doorway..in case I have to leave quickly..because you never know when an emergency can
The concert started in the usual way-sort of. First up were the instrumentalists-kids who had only been playing a few months-but were ready to perform. There were only two numbers-and it was sweet. Yes, one girl did go off key with her saxophone quite a bit..but she was happy and proud of herself. Maybe because she didn't have to sit through a long speech about something old and musty beforehand or play in the dark as had been the tradition. I thought it was wonderful. Next to perform were the fourth graders-Oscar's group. I have to say-I was prepared to plaster on a smile while I chanted a mantra (in my head) of "please be fast please be fast" as I let my eyes unfocus and glaze over. But it wasn't necessary! Nope-the music teacher got up, gave a quick explanation of what they were singing ...GASP! Kwanzaa and Hanukkah as well as Christmas songs! They were actually singing songs less than 100 years old! From other cultures??!! Be still my heart! What about the usual * "Mold in the corn crib and Jesus wept"? or* "Tartan knickers Kumbaya"? No, these songs were perky and jazzy-so the kids were as well. Even Oscar-who I could hear singing loudly-slightly raspy and off key.( Although he was still looking a bit stiff-even when they sang "Santa wants a brand new bag"..I put it off as him having too much sensory overload-and he was trying to keep it together. Regardless, it was pure joy to watch.) Then they got to the last song "Everlasting Fruitcake"..a funny tune about a fruitcake that a family keeps giving away-but keeps getting back. At the very end of the song-a doorbell rings..and my boy(MY BOY) steps down off of the riser and pretends to open the door. He is handed a fruitcake..he looks up-and at the top of his lungs announces "OH NO NOT AGAIN??!! WAAAAAAA!!" He brought the house down. And amidst the applause and the high fives he was getting from his friends-he searched me out..and grinning from up on the stage..mouthed "mama.. did you see me?" My heart just... overflowing..I mouthed back "Yes I did!"..he gave me another smile..a hop..and followed his class off of the stage..
I had no idea Oscar was doing this..no idea that he had a line in the show. He had kept it from me as a surprise. And surprised I was..and thrilled and overjoyed and so many other emotions I can't even list them. Although I can say with total conviction-not one of them was sympathy-for either myself or my boy. He amazed me that day...and continues to do so everyday. He works hard because he WANTS to..because he CARES. Because he is who he is-I pity anyone who thinks less of him for that.
In some ways I am going to miss the old music teacher. She gave me such good material. But I have to say, I really like the new one.
*-I took the liberty of making up those song titles..but trust me-they weren't too far off from what had really been sung in the past few years.