Thursday, May 29, 2014
From the very first, people questioned us about choosing to have our children close together. Our sanity, ethics and morals were further questioned when we had children after Isaac's official autism diagnosis.
This morning, Sam and I went to my daughter's middle school awards day ceremony. We squeaked in just as the program was beginning. We had had to negotiate a long line of vehicles carrying other proud parents. Our state park hiking and navigating skills had paid off as we finally found a place to park at the community center adjacent to the school and had negotiated the trails across the creek, past the ball field and beside the elementary school to reach our destination. Next time a great crowd is expected, I will wear my hiking boots as a necessary accessory. We arrived thankful and a bit sweaty and found a seat on the bleachers. The floor of the gym was populated by the massive eighth grade class all squirming in their seats quite unaccustomed to dressing up. Parents and siblings lined the bleachers and the teachers and administration were on stage beaming at their pleasant duty of recognizing these students whom they loved.
The pledge was said. The national anthem was sung beautifully by one of the students and then the presentations began. We had been notified that our daughter was to receive an award but beyond that we knew nothing. Related arts instructors presented their tributes first. Band, Strings, Chorus...
Our daughter's name was called. She had been recognized as the Chorus Student of the Year. I listened to her name echo in the middle school gym. I watched my child confidently approach the stage and retrieve her award. I beamed. Sam took pictures. The room cheered for my child. More and more awards and recognitions were distributed. Now all the academic regalia had found their honorable owners. There were a few more acknowledgements to be made. I again heard my daughter's name called to receive an award. She had joined an elite group of peers who had been determined by the faculty to be honored with the Citizenship Award. She, with her presence and spirit and attitude, had made the middle school a better place overall. She had affected the school. She had mattered. I am so very proud.
I remember years ago watching my daughter crawl through our carpeted hallway chasing after Isaac. Isaac would sit in front of the air return and strum it ceaselessly to feel the vibration and to hear the noise. I remember watching my daughter as she strummed it once and then crawled on. I remember all the times she sought her brother out to interact and play. I remember how even as a very small child she looked out for him. I look back on my daughter's early childhood and think of all the ways she has had to grow up ...maybe sometimes too quickly. I wonder sometimes what the overall effect has been. I have long tried to comfort myself with the knowledge that everyone has something not quite typical that they deal with. Our family is very aware of autism. Other lives have been touched with other challenges both physical and emotional.
I watched this confident young lady walk to the stage this morning and my worry is gone. I see from the bleachers. She is strong. She is beautiful. She is smart. She is respectful of all types of people. She is a good human with a kind heart. She is my daughter and I am so very proud of who she is and what she is becoming.