|Copyright 2014, Amy Aves Challenger|
Saturday, May 30, 2015
A Performance To Remember: Love and Acceptance, At Last
They all lined up. Hands to the side, smiles, glasses, dresses, pants, shiny shoes. Boys and girls on a big, black stage. Ready. Boys and girls who had felt things before that weren’t so nice: Exclusion, shame, bullying, frustration, isolation, sadness, lonlieness, self-hatred, depression, fear. Little hearts lined-up on a stage. Each with a “special need.”
Some had messy, greasy hair and awkward gates.
Some stood sideways, shifting, avoiding eye contact.
Some had pale faces. Uncertain.
Some bounced, fidgeted, twirled fingers, or shifted from side-to-side.
One held his shoulders stiffly at his sides.
Some had clothing that draped awkwardly on the body, too high or too low or too tight.
Some had shirts with a few too many stains from lunchtime.
Some had been given confusing labels by professionals sitting behind big desks. Asperger’s, ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism.
But those little minds and bodies looked healthy there, raised on a platform, higher than us adults for a change. They arced and stood like living flowers, more beautiful than any I had seen before. They revealed the total human, the honest child, the loving soul, up on a stage.
My boy sat in the back, alone, unable to perform. Part of the shadows now. Defiant. Maybe afraid of his own light. I was sad for this, but I was grateful for the hope in front of me.
A tear tried to come, but their faces wrapped me with gratitude that covered the sadness, like a warm blanket, painting a smile larger than the surface of my head. My adult education, criticism, impatience, and walls that divide one fact from another, one type of person from another, one age from another. My adult stuff was buried by their smiles. The openness and truth and hope that these children offered up there, so high— it flooded me.
They were ready to perform for the parents who had suffered with them for thousands of days. The parents whom I love. The parents who had waited for this day.
Then they began to dance and sing. Mouths opened, smiling, celebrating, swinging hips, pointing fingers up to the sky, bellowing words, joyful movements. Music soared.
They were fireworks in red, purple, blue, snapping, clapping, stomping, calling out sounds, words, loving life, finally themselves, at a place, a school that loved them. One year finished. Success at last. Triumphant children, all labels cast aside.
Their parents caught the light, animated, joyful, smiling, whooping, cheering. We all felt it. The glory of boys and girls accepted, sharing their gifts, for all to receive.
I’ll remember their dancing whenever I hurt for my boy, like I do today. I’ll remember the jubilee that waits within each mind, no matter the challenge. I’ll remember the music and the light that will find its way out when we seek the doorways and the hearts to welcome each child home...
Welcome them home to love and acceptance, at last.br/>
I'm a writer, artist and mom of three kids all born within three years. I'm working on my first novel while working on essays that have been published in The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Mamalode, and soon a piece will run on Brainchild Magazine's blog. My oldest child has special needs. Motherhood (and its complexities) has reshaped my ideas about God, my art, my marriage, my purpose, and especially about those who are marginalized. My passion is in sharing some of the honest pictures of life and the lessons that have come from our family struggles and our triumphs. I'm also influenced by my work with the homeless, my relationship with my father who suffers with Alzheimer's, and some of the other interesting characters I've met along my journey.