I don't know if it's because he has a disability, or if I'm justifying my pride.
The other week, my son - who you know as Boo - started taking piano lessons. Well, actually, he started last July, but this beautiful person wasn't actually a trained piano teacher, and it became evident to all of us that Boo needed to move on. So Boo is in the studio with Mr. Bonafide Piano Teacher. And I know enough about music, having played for over 10 years, that these were real lessons.
As I heard Mr. Bonafide teach and explain, I knew Boo understood, and I could hear him respond musically. I could hear his playing change subtly with the instruction. After 7 months of lessons.
My heart swelled. It swelled like the former high school ball player who watches his own son on the field. Like the former beauty queen as her daughter is crowned Homecoming Queen.
I had never felt this way before. Oh, maybe once when he was in 2nd grade and he told his teacher that he "could do all things through Christ" who strengthens him. I've been proud of him before, but really for just being NORMAL. For just getting along with another child, for getting a good grade, for being able to sit still.
I just wanted him to be able to get by in this world. To have a friend or two. To get through high school without being arrested for inappropriate behavior. Maybe. Maybe, even go to college. But Lord, that he might be able to get and keep a job.
Do I think too little of him? No. At least, I hope not. I knew he had many talents and so much to give. But would the world see that? Would he keep annoying everyone by singing, anywhere? anytime? Would he be seen as freaky because he always had a smile on his face? Would someone punch him in the face when he laughs at an inappropriate time?
Am I just proud and want to shout it from the mountaintop because I'm being prideful? Or am I so damn glad that he might have some measurable skill?
New Year's Eve, our little family went to a little party. We met a man there, a little ragged looking, in t-shirt and faded jeans. Someone you might see at the neighborhood bar. In fact, the host knew this John from the bar around the corner. Boo sat munching on a plate of food and drawing, like he always does, everywhere he goes. I hear Boo and John chit chat. Boo telling 10-year old boy type jokes, John laughing and really enjoying him.
This ragged, t-shirted John, as it turned out, is a very gifted musician, who accompanies dance troupes with his improvisational piano, and plays background for art videos with his own compositions. He has synesthesia - where different senses relate to each other - like people who see certain colors when they hear certain sounds. He will tell you he is not a dancer, but he associates certain movements with certain sounds. We started talking about random things and he talks about Einstein, whose IQ is purported to be 160-180. You know, that's high, but not as high as you'd think for a man like him. John's point being that some intelligences are not measurable.
This boy. This boy, who is like iPod shuffle of imagery and sounds. He remembers so many things from so many places, from so long ago and they come out in combinations at unusual times. He sounds out portions of The Messiah on the piano, adds accompaniment, then segues into some nursery rhyme song.
Might this turn into something that will pay him a salary? healthcare?
Please Lord, let him be my Music Man.