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The Autism Christmas Miracle in the Church December 18, 2008

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, humor, Parenting, religion, special needs, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,

For the record, we’re Catholic. Typical daughter goes to Catholic school. Autistic son to public. Both are in the perfect place for them. (I won’t get into how ridiculous their different vacation schedules are…)

Do we go to Mass every week? No. Every month? No. On holidays? Does running the Girl Scout cookie booth sale in the church lobby on Palm Sunday count?

Hey, my daughter gets her religious education during the school day and she goes to Mass once a week with her class. That’s something, right? It’s not really that I’m lazy. I just think that burning in hell for eternity would be less painful than suffering through an hour in church with my little angel boy.

And God gave our family autism, right? So He presumably understands. And hopefully forgives. But I digress…

So, last night was our daughter’s Christmas concert and she is in the choir. We have never taken ‘C’ to any of her concerts, so as not to overstimulate him or embarrass/upset her with the inevitable disruption. Never, that is, until last night…

Picture this scene. Long aisle in the church. Choir on the altar. Hundreds of people. Hubby took daughter ahead of time. Inlaws arrive first among the masses so we have seats in the very first pew. The plan was for me to arrive just before the concert started so ‘C’ would not have to wait any longer than necessary.

Did I mention I am always freakin late for everything?

So, I swing open the church doors … like someone about to object to a marriage or something… and the whole place looks at us as the first song is in progress already. I looked up at the big 25 foot tall crucifix over the altar and silently said “Dear Jesus, please let ‘C’ walk quietly down this freakin football field  aisle without being noisy, digging in his heels, running away, or throwing a tantrum.”

And, like a miracle, he did.

Then, he sat right down in the front pew and quietly, peacefully…dare I say typically…watched this concert for over an hour! No food, drink or toys (other than one hot wheel in each hand which he just held onto). Not a peep. Not. one. peep. He sat there taking it all in, loving the music. And for some unexplainable reason, I didn’t feel that ever-present fear I usually feel as I wait for the bubble’s inevitable bursting at a time like that. I didn’t feel that stress that ruins every outing, even when the outing does go well.

As time went by and he got tired, he’d rest his head against my arm. As his bedtime came and went, he began to yawn. I began to worry. But he just looked up at me at one point and said quietly “Time to go home now. Thanks. See ya next time.” Too adorable.

Against my better judgement, and knowing from past experiences that it was the wrong thing to do, I pushed my luck and didn’t leave. I told him gently that it was almost over and we’d be leaving real soon and I was so proud of how good he was sitting. And you know what happened next? NOTHING. He just kept being perfect.

At the end, he patiently got up and walked slowly behind the throngs of people ahead of us (front pew remember?). He patiently tolerated the happy stares and small talk from my daughter’s classmates’ parents… who gawked at my son and his remarkable behavior. Surely they imagined him shackled in the basement for the past 5 years since they last saw him… in a stroller!…at a school function. He got in the car and asked for his sister’s goody bag (a little gift we’d bought her). Instead he got the toy we’d bought just for him when we dared to dream that the night would go half as well as it actually did.

I got the rarest and most precious of gifts that night… a glimpse of the awesomeness of being a typical family. If only for an hour or so. An hour that felt like forever.

May you all experience such a Christmas miracle this season.



1. abunslife - December 19, 2008

That’s wonderful!! Hang onto that one…and cherish it.

Now that I think about your idea of wrapping each child’s presents in the same paper so they (and you!) know who’s presents are who’s I don’t mind the idea of only using two patterns….but shhh. Don’t tell my husband he was on to something! 🙂

2. goodmum - December 19, 2008

I’m so glad you had a “typical” experience. This is truly a Christmas miracle! Yay “C”!!!!

3. hope4mygirl - December 19, 2008

This is so beautiful!!!! I couldnt be more happy for you and your family! Here’s to more “miracles”!!!!!

4. tiredmama - December 21, 2008

That’s so awesome! My heart smiles for your family. 🙂

5. Toni - December 29, 2008

Way to go “C”! I am so happy that you guys got to enjoy an evening. Here’s to wishing for many more nights like that for the four of you.

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