Upside down

Alyssa’s dance class was invited to participate in the Christmas show. This is a big deal because we didn’t think she would ever be able to do something like this.
That is not exactly true, when I gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl, I envisioned her in little dance costumes with cute little tutus dancing up on stage. I knew I would sign her for dance, since it was such a big part of my childhood. That was before I even knew what autism was never mind how it would affect my daughter’s life. I assumed she would be able to be up on stage with her little feet tapping. I didn’t know my daughter would never talk, or go to a regular school, or have the childhood experiences most children have.

Her class was doing one song and would be performing at a nursing home. The costume was black shirt and pants which should be ok, but she is finicky about clothes. She doesn’t like anything too frilly, too tight, too loose, or too bright. She loves going to her dance class. I didn’t know how she would be dancing somewhere else but, we would try.

I had talked about the performance over and over to prepare her. She was all smiles about it and would even show us some of hers moves if we asked. Its hard to know exactly what she is understanding because a lot gets lost in translation.

The day of the performance Alyssa was so happy. She wore her new shirt with no problem. We pulled up to the nursing home and she started screaming. She didn’t know where we were, and she knew it wasn’t the dance studio. She refused to get out the car and just kept yelling. We were supposed to meet her class out front but now it’s getting later, and they are already inside. And just like something exciting and happy turns to frustration and tears.
We were able to get her to walk across the parking lot while trying to shush her. At this point I just want to cry, and I don’t know if she will be able to pull it together. We get inside and I can hear music playing, it already started! It started earlier than it was supposed to. We go up a big flight of stairs and we see her teacher as we are walking up. She wasn’t yelling anymore and as soon as she saw her teacher she relaxed. Sometimes it is very hard for her to pull herself together other times she can do it. It is so unpredictable .
Luckily , she was able to transition with her class. She went with her class and danced. I could tell she was a little unsure at first and then she relaxed as it went. She is a lot more delayed developmentally than some of the others in the class. She is the only one who is non verbal but she keeps up and the teachers love her. I was so proud of her and now I am crying happy tears . Even though it is not the performance I imagined , it is still special. We have to learn to adjust our expectations and appreciate the experiences we can have. I feel so blessed she was able to participate in this and I regret how long it took me to get her involved. She is just so unpredictable . We don’t until we try. Also watch this video until the end it ends with a bang.


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