Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Desire for Choir" or "Mom for Hire"

Brother loves his choir class at school. He really does. I am always hearing rave reviews of how great of a singer he is, how well behaved and what a gentleman he is in class. His peer tutor is a dear friend from the neighborhood here and that is another big plus for him. He loves going to class with her. (I don't even want to think about what he is going to go through when he realizes that he only gets to have her as his peer tutor until the semester ends...)

His choir teacher is so great to include me and him in on all the news along with the rest of the mainstream kids. I had been looking forward to his choir concert that I had heard so much about—how well he knew the songs, the actions and how he carried his section.

About a week before the concert (which was a week before the Parade of Pumpkins ((yes, I am still catching up))) he started "freaking out" about going to the the choir concert. Which, I expected because that is what happens every time something comes up that brings a little pressure, it's that darn hyperarousal that gets him every time.

I kept going through the motions, reminding it was coming up, because I knew he had a strong desire to be in the concert.

He kept going through the motions of reminding me that "HE WAS NOT GOING!! AND THAT'S FINAL MISSY!" (No, really that's what he would say to me every time.)

Frankly, I was so overwhelmed by the Parade of Pumpkins at the time, that I, honestly, wasn't planning on pushing the issue. I was just going to let him win this time and let him stay home and avoid the premeditated anxiety...

In other words I didn't want to be "mom." I just wanted to give up on being the mom of a 12-year-old boy with Fragile X Syndrome. I needed one for hire.

Luckily Brother's Special Ed teacher was in tune enough to know that Brother was very anxious about the upcoming concert and sent me a text that afternoon of the concert and said she and her son and husband were attending and that I could sit by them and maybe Brother would be excited if he knew her son was coming.

I knew that if Brother's teacher was making this kind of effort that I could put the effort into getting him there.

And trust me, it took effort.

I knew he had the desire, but lacked the strength to overcome the anxiety of the situation.


I had to literally drag him into the car and that is no easy task as his lanky arms and legs are now attached to a bigger and heavier body frame. Don't let his string bean appearance fool you, he is VERY strong!

He cried and screamed for the entire drive to the Junior High (luckily it is only 3 blocks away and the red light changed quickly). As soon as we parked in the parking lot, he calmed down, combed his hair back with his flimsy hand and sashayed into the school.

Then he sashayed quickly to sit by his choir buddies as if he had been cool as a cucumber the whole way there. It was as if the anxiety button was turned to "off."

He was so cute to watch.

It was so cute to watch his classmates with him and how they take good care of him.

There was a moment where a few of the boys in the group were kind of trying to avoid him but some of the girls welcomed him right back in and he didn't seem to mind a bit.

I found my spot next to his teacher and her family as he didn't seem to need me at all anymore.

I was so proud I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest!

Then when he hopped (literally hopped) onto the stage in his spot to sing tears began to well up in my eyes.

He was grinning and waving at everyone. He was so happy and so proud of himself.

Everyone in the audience was getting such joy out of watching him.

They would laugh when he got excited and waved. I loved it! He loved it! He is such a performer.

I didn't take any pictures but I got film. But I haven't clipped it down for the blog so I will just show you a screen capture of my favorite antic.

At the end of each song the choir director would stand off to the side and show off the choir members as the audience clapped. Brother took full advantage of that and took a bow/curtsy!

Can you see him? He's on the far right next to the director. Here, let me help you out...
See how he's posing? Here, let me help you with that too...

There, the red lines show you his position... tee hee! Ah! I love him so much!!!

Laughter ensued and he continued to "ham it up." He got better with each of the 3 songs and on the last one he really went to town on the actions.

His teacher was so proud of him!

I don't know if she saw my happy tears but I was so proud of him and so thankful for her as his teacher and his choir teacher.

As soon as the concert was over he ran to me and was ready to go. He kept grinning and asking me if he was good.

I kept going on and on praising him. I told him how proud I was, how good he did, and how I loved his energy on stage and so did the audience.

You couldn't wipe the sheepish grin off his face.

Immediately after his concert we took him to his Mutual Activity where they were making the pumpkin displays for the Parade of Pumpkins.

He was so excited to come home and tell me about the pumpkin he helped paint with his friends and how neat he thought it was that they were doing it for an activity that benefited him. I LOVE that his friends were involved in contributing to him for Fragile X.
This table was full of the displays that the youth in our ward did with Brother,
but I am sad to say I don't have a picture of the one Brother helped on...

What a heart-filling night it was. A night I knew he and I would remember forever.

That night as I was reading to him and tucking him into bed he smiled at me and stated, "I was great in my concert, huh, mom."

I was so proud to tell him "You sure did."

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