Music Hath Soothed the Savage Beast

It's like clockwork.

Whenever my eldest has an orchestra or band concert, I get sick. Usually it's a migraine, but I get those so often it's hard for me to count that as "being sick." It's more like, "grinning and bearing it." So it's the SPECIAL kind of migraine -- the one that makes me see wavy lights and smell strawberries I get before these concerts.

Or the flu. I've had the flu at least twice for his concerts.

So while the other parents are oohing and aahing over their performances, I'm trying not to vomit into my purse again. Not exactly my favorite way to spend an evening.

But last week, my son had his Winter Orchestra concert and, I'm telling you, it was a Christmas Miracle because I was feeling FINE.


Perched in the balcony, seated there in the auditorium -- the very same one I used to play my own concerts in -- I had a perfect view of my son. My sweet, kind, handsome, almost-11-year-old son. On that stage, all of the quirks and differences that his autism brings were forgotten. He had his music.

And he, he is a musician.

As a baby, that child refused human touch. He preferred to sit in his crib and stare at his mobile, listening to the music from the box next to his bed, as he watched the world spin. It was only then that he was happy. I tried not to allow it to break my heart into more pieces than it should, but it did. It always did. I craved his touch in the same way he hated mine.

Car trips were a nightmare until I put on music. It was only then that he would calm down, the tears drying from his face, as he stared out the window, listening -- watching the world go by. As he got older, he learned by song. Anything you could put to a tune, he'd learn.

By the time he was 3, I started him on the violin. I knew then that music would be His Thing, the one thing he'd have to arm himself against a world that wouldn't always be kind. And it hasn't. But the music has.

When I saw my son there on the stage, bopping his hands and wiggling his arms as he waited for the conductor to begin, I smiled. I knew that he had found his place in the world. And that, well, that is priceless.

When the music began, his violin solo sung out wistfully into the auditorium, like tiny bubbles popping over our heads, and for a moment, my heart, it too soared.


Read More >