Friday, December 12, 2014

He was shining

So grade 1 is over. And as the dust settles I am reflecting on Matt's year. I want to share with you some highlights and notable moments.
The first is when Matt performed on stage.

He danced with his class...doing all the moves at the right time. Yes, he did the moves in his own version given his body's unique way of doing movement...but he was right in there with everyone for the whole song!

He did this in 6 shows!

And he loooooved it!

Taking a bow at the end of the performance

His school puts on a 'real' play with music, acting, sets and lights. Everyone in the school gets to participate. Everyone. I was so anxious about Matt and how they would include him. But more about that later. Matt loved it. He loves music...and there was lots of music as each class did a dance. He loves movement and actions, as I mentioned, there was lots of dancing. (The only thing he didn't like was wearing make-up, and so he didn't have to.) And there was no talking required. Neither did his classmates do any talking on stage. Matt's speech remains a challenge and in this "talk-free" activity he could just participate like everyone else...doing just as they were doing. I think that meant something to him. Or maybe that just meant something to me.
The play took place in September (I think) and though 3 months have passed Matt is still slightly obsessed with watching the DVD of the play. As he watches he does the dance of his grade, remembering all the moves. And he also does the moves to the dances of the other grades, the teachers dance and the parents dance!

This play was also a journey for me. In the hours before we went to see the play, I felt nauseous with fear. I was trying to put my finger on why I was so anxious because Matt had already performed a number of shows and we had had positive feedback. I realised that I was terrified because for most of Matt's life I had been right beside him in case he needed me to reach out and intervene. It has been a big step for me to trust others - Matt's previous teachers and facilitators to step into that role of being there beside him. Now he was going to be on stage in front of 600 people and there would not be anyone beside him. And I would be sitting in the audience watching him. And if he needed me or if he did something inappropriate I would not be able to intervene or help him - I would just have to watch from afar. It was scary. But the truth be told, he wasn't alone...his teachers were waiting right in the wings of the stage...his friends were with him on his left and right. He was being held by this community. He was safe. And he didn't need any mommy intervention. He was shining.

Matt in his costume, ready to do head off to his first performance!
I am so grateful for Matt's exposure to dance, being on stage, and music. It has definitely sparked something in him. I am intrigued to see what will unfold - now that we have been made aware about how much dance means to him. Had I been given a choice early in the year, I would have seriously considered not letting Matt participate. Mainly due to my fears and anxiety, and I would have said something like "it will be too much for him". I'm glad I wasn't really given the choice. And I will remember this the next time I want to hold him back.

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