An Unexpected Talent Show

Mr. C announcing his name and what talent he would be performing.

So the boys were both in their school’s talent show this week but I only knew about one of them being in it, because only one of them tried out.

Mr. C asked for me to record him performing some karate in his Gi and a necklace of Christmas lights so he could send it to his music teacher for try outs. He made the cut just like he confidently assumed he would and he performed it the day of perfectly, without breaking a sweat.

The kid has the same confidence as Aaron Rodgers does that he can toss a football. Seriously, day of Mr. C made sure he had his stuff ready to go in his backpack and even wore his karate pants and t-shirt to school… Because why change into your Gi for your performance when you can just wear most of it to school all day?

Little Miss A couldn’t even ruffle his feathers or throw off his game. I had her run a Santa hat to Mr. C before the show started because he had been looking for one before school. This middle child saw his little sister and assumed she was off gallivanting and up to no good. Mr. C got his little sister’s attention, and directed her back up to me before assuming the waiting position for game time.

Mr. C’s best friend also performing.

My boys started the school talent show and ended it. Mr. C was the first one up, he took the microphone from the music teacher, calmly and clearly announced his name and his talent, handed the mic back and did his thing.

I wish I could say the same for Mr. L, but I’m not even sure he knew what that day had in store for him. Mr. L’s teacher was out sick the week before and he might not have been given a heads up that he would be joining all the 5th grade classes on stage to perform the 12 days of Christmas as a “6 geese of laying” with a tennis ball and a squat. I kid you not.

They called all the 5th graders to the floor and Mr. L was guided out there by an aid who really likes him. She stood him in the middle of the chaos and handed him a tennis ball. Soon the tennis ball was no where to be seen and I would find out later that this had probably been done on purpose by my first born child.

Another tennis ball was quickly acquired by the gym teacher and Mr. L was soon left on his own surrounded by excited 5th graders bouncing their tennis balls all around him while his sweet face was quickly turning from confusion to frustration and soon anxiety. As I sat there studying his every move I soon realized he was on the verge of tears or quite possibly a meltdown.

Kids dressed up for pajama day at school, and Mr. L hiding his tennis ball.

Lucky for Little Miss A, we were sitting by some family friends and I was able to leave her with them while I sprinted along the bleachers and down to my center staged child. When I reached my stressed kiddo I stood behind him, gently turned him to face me and held him to me while we practiced calming/breathing. I talked in a soothing tone while he melted back to planet earth with me.

As soon as Mr. L was back to baseline with me his aid came running up behind us to see what she had missed. She seemed apologetic and concerned but that still left me with the question of why he had been left up there in the first place? He had never smiled or looked happy about any of it, so why had his aid left in the first place? Maybe they were short handed and she had been needed to assist another child. Regardless though, Mr. L had needed aid and I was grateful that I had been there, that I had been watching him and that I knew how to get to him and help him.

Mr. L’s aid really wanted me to be able to sit in the parent roll. She wanted me to take a seat in the audience and had told me she wanted me to go be the mom and to take pictures. I appreciate that, I appreciated that she didn’t want me to have to be the aid, she wanted to take that burden off my shoulders and have me get to just be the mom like all the other parents and just enjoy watching my child be with all the other children.

But Mr. L isn’t like all the other children, he has autism. And I’m not like all the other parents, I’m a special needs caregiver. So I couldn’t just waltz back to my seat and enjoy the show. I sat in the isle of the bleachers, tried to take some pics and video, and watched my stressed out child while asking myself if once again, did I do the right thing?

Mr. L and his really sweet school aid.

Should I of stayed on stage with my son? Should I have politely declined the aid’s offer? Should I have just walked my child off stage and saved him from the mess he was in? How do you teach that sometimes you have to do hard things? Things that make you a little uncomfortable? And how do you teach that sometimes you need to stand up for yourself and walk away?

That day I watched both my sons in their school talent show, and that day I will forever look back on and wonder if I did the right thing.



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