I didn't know that Micah would also struggle with verbal apraxia, rendering him speechless. That has made for more changes than the Down syndrome has been. It has both been a very real struggle and a non-issue, on a daily basis. Words can't put into expression how we communicate, but we do because Micah makes sure of it.
We didn't know the determination of our son, and how he would work so hard to overcome anything he perceived as standing in his way. He's my hero in that respect.
As I was sitting in the school's auditorium, watching the 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes performing the spring concert, I thought of the moment in the hospital eleven years ago when I tried to envision what my life would be like parenting a child with a lifelong handicap. I chuckled a bit to myself. How can anyone know the future? I had hoped, 11 years ago, that I'd have reached a level of stability and comfort by the time Micah was 10 years old. Thankfully that happened long before he was a decade old. But I had no inkling of the pride that boy would foster inside me. It goes back to the fact that he's my hero. I'm ridiculously proud of all my kids, but Micah works 58 times harder than his peers (or siblings) to accomplish the same things, and makes it look like it's not a big deal.
Listening to my nonverbal child sing in a school concert is always a source of perverse pride for me. I sit in the back on purpose. I'll save the seats up front for the parents who need them. No matter how many kids are on the stage, or how large the auditorium, I can always hear my son. His lungs have no handicap whatsoever, and his voice travels well. I wait for the reaction of those around me as they wonder what the heck they're hearing, and I beam with pride as I listen to my son singing for the sheer joy of singing. His voice is distinct as he drones over the crowd, his voice floating around the room like the bass in a band.
Eleven years ago, I never envisioned that school concerts would be so different for us than for other parents. I never once thought that singing would be something our son couldn't do, but didn't let that stop him from doing it with all his heart anyway. I had no idea that I would be able to hear my son singing above a crowd of any size, no matte where I am in relation to where he is, and instantly recognize his voice. How could I fathom, eleven years ago, how much I'd love that very quality?
Funny how life is so very different from what you think it will be. Funny how I prefer it that way.