When a flyer came home announcing a singing concert at Carson’s school, it was met with anxiety.
We wrongly assumed this would just be a first grade presentation our non-verbal son would sit out. After all, he can’t sing. He can’t even mouth the words at this point in his journey due to severe apraxia.
His school would have none of that, as the reaction seemed to be, “what do you mean, of course, he’s going to participate.” We are so thankful for that sense of inclusion that permeates his daily school life. We don’t take it for granted.
While there was no miracle that day — he didn’t start singing out of the blue — he was very much just one of the kids up on stage, standing at attention with his class and carrying out the choreographed moves with aplomb.
It was a special evening for us. At this point in Carson’s life, our hope is for him to fit in among the other children as much as possible. We worry constantly that his inability to communicate verbally will limit his friendships and be misinterpreted by his classmates as being cognitively unaware of what’s happening around him. Carson is aware of everything going on around him. Sometimes he just chooses to ignore. The same could be said about me sometimes.
While we carry our concerns for his future with us on a daily basis, on that stage on this particular night he was just one of the kids.
There was a time not too long ago when he was too shy and embarrassed to get in front of that many people because he can’t speak. He knows he’s different. I’m not sure at 7 years old I would be able to look beyond my disability in the same way he does.
Seeing him on stage with his classmates made us incredibly proud. He did nothing to set himself apart and that was just fine with us. He performed like the other kids, and that’s really all we were hoping for out of the night.
With two boys, aged 8 and 7, there are few sweet moments anymore.
That’s why when they occur they are a big deal. Two instances of late fall into that category.
At a recent birthday party at the trampoline park in Delmar, Beckett was a good big brother to Carson. A bunch of kids from the birthday party were getting ready for a dodgeball game and they all wanted Carson to play. He wanted me to come out there with him, but I told him I couldn’t because of the rules.
Noticing that Carson was reluctant to go out by himself, Beckett came over and grabbed his hand to help him. Since it was during a birthday party for Carson’s classmate, Beckett agreed he would just help Carson and not be an active participant. Beckett’s version of helping him was shielding his little brother from the ball, making sure nobody ran him over and helping him up whenever he fell down.
It was awesome to observe and a sign of how I know Beckett will be toward his little brother in the future. At their young ages, we don’t see much from Beckett as far as helping his little brother. We expect him as the years go on to be his little brother’s supporter and advocate as well as defender should those sorts of situations present themselves.
Along the same lines, a couple nights later, we had a major change on the Carson sleep front. As I have written about previously, Carson never stays in his room the entire night. He typically wakes up and joins Pam and me in bed. The result then could be he crawls in between us and falls asleep or he could come in flip on the lights and insist on everyone waking up, no matter the time.
Over the weekend, I woke up Sunday morning and it was just Pam and me in our bed. It felt unnatural because it was such a foreign concept.
When I walked in Carson’s room, he wasn’t there. I just happened to look in Beckett’s room, assuming Carson was downstairs playing. To my shock, I saw two boys. Beckett was in a trundle bed in his room, while Carson was asleep in Beckett’s bed. I was curious how this came about.
Beckett said Carson came in his room and jumped in bed with him at some point in the night. He said they both slept in the bed for a while before Beckett wanted more room and walked over to his trundle bed in the middle of the night. Since he’s prone to the dramatic, I was proud of him for not making a big deal out of it.
The next night Pam made up the trundle bed in Beckett’s room for Carson in case he came in again. When I woke up the next morning, I saw a light on in Carson’s room but he wasn’t there. I found him in the trundle bed asleep under the covers and Beckett down and out in his bed.
If we are to believe that Carson had been waking up at night because he didn’t want to be alone in his room, I love the fact his brother is satisfying that for him.
With little kids, it could be anything, but I choose at this point to believe he is finding comfort in being close to his big brother. That’s a wonderful thing if so.