When Big Bud was 3 he attended a special purpose pre-school at the United Cerebral Palsy center. It was an amazing program that incorporated children at all levels of ability. I would love to give a hug to the parents of the typically developing children that had their kids go to the program. What amazing people those kiddos will grow up to be. One little boy, though, always made me smile. He wasn't typical. He had some challenges, although attitude wasn't one of them. He was a tiny little dude but he walked into that building like he owned it. He would sit beside Big Bud and help him with his snack. He'd hand him his napkin and pick up his juice when he dropped it. Just an incredible little kid. We have been so lucky to know kids and adults like this.
Last night was the second grade concert. Now I advocate as much as I can for my kids and making sure that they are seen in the community and being involved is so very important. But, sometimes it's just easier to put on our Spider Man pajamas and lay on the couch and watch Scooby Doo. But last night I decided to have Big Bud participate. His aide told me she would sit with him beside his class, "because you know he really can't sing and dance." And all this time I was here thinking that when I dropped him off at school he was Michigan J. Frog---
Anyway, I am in my 17th year of being a mother and so have attended some concerts. Though I recently learned that in the four years of chorus and band that the teenager participated in, she was only mouthing the words and had no idea how to read sheet music. So all those concerts, I sat there and listened to her not sing and not play the clarinet. So the least I could do for Big Bud was the very same thing.
So we went. I was anticipating a concert like so many millions of concerts across the land, 100- 7 year olds mumbling something about the holidays, someone crying, the boys in the back picking each other's noses, little brothers and sisters bawling in the audience.
This is the last song of the concert. Big Bud is in the very lower right-hand corner sitting with his aide. He's having a ball...not singing and dancing. But I want you to listen really closely. Do you hear the little voice that's a little faster then the others, a little louder? I'll pan over to him after a while. In the very left hand corner you'll see a little tiny dude with blond hair and glasses, a blue shirt and black jacket. That's Big Bud's friend from preschool. He's still helping out. I'm pretty sure he just needed to sing extra loud, because he knew that Big Bud couldn't.
This Christmas if you think you can't do it all, if you can't live up to your own expectations, remember these little kids giving simply a voice or friendship, joyously. We should all be so blessed.