Friday, May 2, 2014

Without the words

The rain is pouring and before I can say "Let me grab the umbrella..." Isaac is already bounding out of the van.  "Wooooohooooo!" He shouts and runs to the door of the Tai Kwon Do studio we are checking out as I am scrambling to clumsily catch up with him without looking like I am entering myself into a wet t-shirt contest.  Thank you, Lord, for "April showers."

Isaac is obviously excited.  So much so that he literally cannot keep still.  He is hopping up and down and smiling, "Is this the place?  Are we going to start?  Oh!  Look!  A water fall!"  My friend and her son are also with us to do an interview and visit for a possible new place for our boys to get involved with some summer activities through our Autism Scholarships.  This place was recommended and has done a wonderful job with kids on the spectrum, and since we have funds left after schooling, we thought we would see if this place, these people, would be good fits.

I have learned that I can't just sign Isaac up into a program.  It's not that easy.  There is preparation involved for everyone.  We need to see if the place is comfortable, the people good communicators, the ideology compliant to the way he can grow.  It's also necessary to stand back and let things happen--not to force a situation.  You just know when it fits. And when it doesn't.

As Isaac was bouncing rigidly and asking questions, the instructor introduced herself in a quiet, zen-like manner. Oh boy.

"Hello, Isaac, my name is-"

"HI!  I'm Isaac, oh wait, you said that [giggles, bouncing up and down] soooooo is this where we practice? [runs out on the mat while instructor tries to interject] Oh, this is cool.  Are we gonna fight now?  [makes a fighting pose]"

The instructor looks at me, and I shrug, "He has a big brother and to wrestle." Nice, Christa.  I look over just in time to see Isaac touching everything--the belts displayed on the wall, the small fountain (supposedly for creating calm?), photos, you name it.  He was asking non-stop questions to anyone in a 10 foot radius:  "Are these your belts?"  "Is this fountain always running?"  "Wow!  Nice swords!"  

As our interview continued, Isaac could not sit still.  He was spastic on the couch in the instructor's office, interrupting to ask questions like, "Is that real sand in there?"  "Where did you get those shells? At the beach?"  "Why do you have so many candles?"  "Ooh, I like this music, it's soothing!"  I struggled not to laugh and took a moment to enjoy his chattiness, even though it may not have been at the appropriate time...even though it might have been excessive.  He wouldn't let her take charge of the conversation, in fact, he kept turning the questions she would ask him back on her!  "What is your favorite thing to do at school, Isaac?" "Um...[he went on to list his entire day schedule, as if reading it from a memory calendar, expressively of course] What about you?  What do YOU like?  Oh, wait...not what you like...what do you NOT like?  Yeah, what do you not like?"  We didn't finish the interview because of all of Isaac's questions.  Honestly, I was a little embarrassed at all the chattiness, all the moving and bouncing and inability to focus.  I caught myself and threw that feeling out of the window because there is joy with many words, and there is joy without.  I have known both.

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. ~Emily Dickinson

I love words.  I express with words.  I understand with words.  I use words as my magnifying glass, as my secret decoder, and my frying pan.  Words are food to my soul, and without them to help me examine the world, I have a hard time feeling anything.

So when Isaac didn't talk, and when he struggled to use words with me, I felt...nothing.  It took a long time to understand the truth of Dickinson's quote:  It IS possible to find hope in the song without words.  Isaac is proof of that.  He was my song, seemingly written out of tune; striking dissonant chords, and then, when it seemed I couldn't handle the strain of it any longer, a resolve that made me appreciate the simple truth that some songs can be sung in another key.  It doesn't mean they are wrong, just beautiful and complex in a unique way that not every one is accustomed to.  .

When Isaac's words, flood, out of his mouth, I can smile and close my eyes and listen to a song, now, complete with words. And when Isaac is bouncing, joyful, hopeful, I can see his song, even without lyrics.

He will most likely not be attending the program we visited, but I am glad we did.  Isaac and I were both reminded of just how much hope and poetry both our songs have. ~

Isaac, singing a song without words

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