Saturday night our city held their annual tree lighting ceremony at the town square and Skylar’s middle school choir was asked to sing. Friday afternoon the weather turned pretty nasty with a mix of sleet, hail, & snow and by Saturday morning it was really coming down! Skylar really dislikes two things: 1) big crowds & 2) cold weather (or as she refers to it “cold stuffs”). I was really thankful that the tree lighting was an optional singing event and would not affect her grade if she didn’t participate. She told us she wanted to go sing, but she was definitely anxious about the weather. We reassured her that if she wanted to go, we would go, but if she didn’t want to get out in that weather that we would stay home and watch a Christmas movie instead.
She needed to be down at the square at 5:30 to meet up with her choir and at 4:15 it stopped snowing, the sun came out, & I was optimistic that we might pull this one off! I told her that it looked like it wasn’t going to snow for awhile as the sky all around us was totally blue. She was very excited and yelled “Let’s go!!”.
We arrived down at the square at 5:35 and she was so stressed because their report time was 5:30. One thing I have learned with having a daughter with autism & anxiety is that telling her things like “just relax, I’m sure other people are late too” or “don’t worry, we are still here in plenty of time” just doesn’t help. I’ve learned to just apologize for being late and get her to where she needs to be. Once we found her choir teacher she settled down. I think I was much more anxious as there was a LOT of people and I was trying to keep my eye on her.
I really had no idea what they were going to sing. Although Skylar is verbal, she does not share much about school with me. When I asked her what they were singing she replied with “oh you know, Christmas songs.” Alrighty then! The kids were called up to the steps and I was relieved to see that she stood all the way on the end and her choir teacher stood directly behind her. I love her choir director. She has always been completely supportive of having Skylar in the choir and understands my desire to have her with her typical peers as much as possible.
The ceremony was absolutely wonderful! The Christmas story was read directly from the book of Luke and the reader would pause so that the choir could sing a carol that pertained to the current portion of the story. At the very end of the reading, everything lit up! It was quite a sight. My favorite sight though was the pure look of joy on Skylar’s face. She had the biggest smile and I heard her squeal with delight.
It is difficult for me to describe how much this simple, 20 minute ceremony meant to me. I’m so proud of how Skylar dealt with 2 things that usually make her pretty miserable. We have our fair share of difficulties, but that just makes our successes that much more special. One of the greatest blessings that having a child with autism has given me is the ability to recognize each success, no matter how small it might seem, for the wonderful moment that it is. I couldn’t ask for more than that my friends!
*I was nominated for one of Babble’s Top Autism Spectrum Blogs. I’m totally honored by this. If you read my blog and you have found it helpful I would appreciate your vote. I am currently in the 20′s. You can click here and search for I Am JuJu, then click on the “I Like This” icon. I believe you can only vote for one blog per computer/device. Thank you so much for your support! I love sharing our journey with others and I truly hope that it brings hope and understanding regarding Autism.*