I'll never forget A's kindergarten graduation.
Here she is with her class on stage, waving at me:
And then here she is afterwards, having ice cream with me:
What these two pictures don't show is what happened in between, after she waved at me in that picture. She realized that the gymnasium was full of people and that those people were looking at her. She fled the stage and we watched her kindergarten graduation together, from the audience. It wasn't the first time she'd done this. Both she and her brother refused to participate in their preschool's "graduation" ceremonies too, where they celebrated each advancing class. It wasn't until the end of second grade that I got to enjoy seeing my daughter perform with her classmates in a spring offering of musical selections.
When we got the note home that the kindergarten classes were going to present a Nursery Rhyme Rap Night, I smiled and tucked it away. We would go, of course, but I had no expectation that C-man would join his classmates in the front of the gym. His teacher and I had discussed it during our conference, there were days when the classes were practicing that he just couldn't bring himself to participate, although there were times that he joined in just fine. The noise in the gym, the knowing that other people were looking at him, these are incredibly difficult things for a kiddo with his issues to process.
The first time I thought that I might never see my kids do a school play or a Christmas pageant, I cried. I mourned. I felt cheated and robbed. Over time, though, I grew to accept. There are lots of things my kids can do, so what if being on stage isn't one of them? I got over myself.
God is funny.
When we arrived at the school and we saw the other kindergartners lining up to go in, I said "Look, there's your teacher! Go ahead and go up there so you can stand with your class!"
He gave me a somewhat desperate look, but then he surprised me by actually leaving his sister and I and walking over to his class. A and I went into the gym and found chairs in the second row just as the three classrooms filed in onto the risers.
As the teachers moved the kids around to get them lined up and centered, he found me in the audience. He looked very uncomfortable but much to my surprise he didn't try to flee the stage.
And up there he stayed the entire time.
He didn't sing much and he got just a few of the hand movements in there,but up there he stayed. And when they were done he was so proud of himself. And I of him.
I'm still smiling from ear to ear.
For your viewing pleasure, MY SON. ON STAGE.
Things look pretty awesome up here from cloud nine.