Every so often your kids hit one out of the park for you. Ryan has been on a hitting streak lately that rivals Reggie Jackson in the late 70’s.
First off, the flood. For a kid who has sensory problems spending several hours ankle deep in cold, dirty water while listening to a bunch of pumps and a shop-vac is tatamount to torture. He didn’t complain (something I can’t really claim) and he pitched in and worked as hard as anybody. Ryan is also a person who doesn’t function well in disorder and the house was just a wreck for several days after the flood so he could have been off-kilter (as I was) but he was fine.
Then came the EEG. He was ordered to undergo a sleep-deprived EEG. This meant he had to be kept up until 2:00 a.m. and then be woken at 6:00 a.m. driven to a hospital and have about 40 electrodes glued to his head and lay still for 20 minutes. That would have made me crazy. Actually, it did make Dave and I crazy because we are the ones who had to stay up with him. We were like the walking dead the next day. He was fine. Performed like a champ for the EEG and was very well behaved the whole day. Dave and I though, were quite cranky.
The final Grand Slam was the boys choir. A dear friend called to tell me that our parish was looking for a few more boys for the boys choir. Would Ryan like to join? That was a big yes. Ryan’s two greatest loves are the Mass and music. To combine them both is his greatest joy. I was, however, very conflicted. He wanted so badly to do this and I wanted him to do it but a room full of ten year old boys? Would he behave? Would he stand out? Would they make fun of him? Quite frankly I was a little panicked.
On the day of the first practice we arrive at the music room and there was a parakeet flying loose in the room. No one could figure out how it got there and about ten little boys were whooping and hollering at the poor little thing, chasing it around the room. Ryan is terrified of birds – all animals actually. I thought, “well this is not going to work.” I told Ryan that if he was going to be upset by the bird that we would have to leave. If he chose to stay he would have to not pay any attention to the bird. He assured me that he wanted to sing and he would not be afraid of the bird. Frankly, I thought that this was unlikely and that there was going to be some kind of scene involving him, screaming and the bird.
I then told the choir master about his being autistic but gifted musically. I told him that if he felt Ryan was incapable of this I would not bring him anymore. He kind of gave me a funny look and shooed me away. I said a quick prayer to St. Cecilia, patroness of musicians and left.
“He was the best behaved kid here.” That was the phrase I was greeted with an hour later when I came back to pick him up. “He was great,” said the cantor. They probably thought I was the one with the serious disability. Sometimes I am the more disbledof the two of us.
That Sunday as I sat at Mass and prayed for my oldest child I heard his sweet voice carry over the others and there was such peace in this mother’s heart. I was immensely grateful for the what God had revealed to me that week. My son was clearly being loved and protected by our Almighty Father and he would always find his way through his prayers and his gift and the Mass. Ryan knew he would be fine and his faith in God showed me clearly that mine was lacking. He is truly my path to heaven.
My son, my teacher.