Sunday, November 20, 2011

late blooming

Last week were auditions for Jack's 5th grade play, which is a huge event for all involved. We've been through this before. Iz had decided from the time she saw her first PS41 in kindergarten that she wanted to be a lead when she had her chance. So did just about every other girl in her class. Much to my surprise (shock), she won the role of Lina Lamont in "Singin' in the Rain." I'd never really heard her sing before and had absolutely no idea she had spot on comedic timing. She was brilliant in her part—watching her sparkle on stage, the audience drowning her out with laughter, her face glowing at the impromptu standing ovation she got when she walked out to take a bow? Priceless moments from a Mastercard commercial.

Jack, on the other hand, decided he wanted to go the crew route. He was fine, excited in fact, about participating backstage and keeping a low profile. But it seems every single student has to do a dance audition and he rocked his. So much so that he's reconsidering being in the cast.

For many reasons, I'm blown away.

When Jack was younger he couldn't balance on one foot. Couldn't catch a ball. Couldn't run well. His coordination was, well, it wasn't. He'd been diagnosed with sensory integration issues and started OT and PT before he was 4. He'd had speech issues as well and was in therapy for that too. It was almost like systems in his body didn't really understand what they were supposed to do and he had to work so damn hard to master things most little boys took for granted. Along with the above he had a host of strange health issues, none of which were permanent, but often took ages to get to the bottom of. Digestive problems, febrile seizures, severe allergic reactions—we spent much of his childhood at doctor appointments, evaluations, therapy.

And so as he mastered riding on his rip stick, snowboarding, reading above grade level, becoming a leader amongst his friends, I appreciated all the more what it took for him to get to those places.

Someone recently called him a late-bloomer.

He's ten.

I think, these days, we have such ridiculously high expectations of what our children should be doing that we forget that they're kids. Just kids. When I was ten I rode my bike to visit friends, made pom pom animals and painted on rocks. Read like crazy and played with stuffed animals. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt there is no way at that age I could have done the things he's doing now, with the confidence and sense of ownership he's discovered.

It's different to be a kid these days. While part of me wonders if all the pressure to accomplish so much is a healthy thing, another part watches in awe at what he can do.

As for the play, whether he's opening a curtain or dancing in front of one, I'll be watching with tears in my eyes at the experience he's having.

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