I keep being reminded that I’m learning and growing right along side of Griffin. Today it’s all about the importance of music in both of our lives. For Griffin music has become a great passion. When he plays the piano he is calm and focused. When he’s listening to music he engages in conversation about the composer, the song, the tempo.
For me music has always been a passion. I love to sing and in recent years I began teaching myself how to play the ukulele. When I’m playing the words I’m singing comfort me, I don’t feel so alone. Writing songs as become a way for me to express emotions and thoughts that at times seem too overwhelming to express. When I’m stressed or feeling depressed, music is always right there to help me.
This is a song I first heard on a music box my grandmother Zonie had when I was growing up. I can really relate to the lyrics, as I know we probably all can.
Griffin had some thoughts he wanted to share from our morning conversation. I’m very proud of him and his desire to share his thoughts, his voice with all of you, it’s so important.
Today we were at our neighborhood festival and Griffin asked Tom if they could do the water balloon fight game. Griffin doesn’t like balloons popping at all. When we walked by the game booth where you pop balloons to win a prize, he walked as fast as he could in fear that one would pop. But water balloons are different and he really wanted to get Tom soaked! Tom asked one of the workers if they could demonstrate to Griffin how to play and before we knew it, Clarissa was helping Griffin. It turned out slinging the water balloons was harder than it looked and she stayed with him the whole time. I thanked her and wished there was more time to express to her how much it meant to us. You can tell by Griffin’s screams he had a great time!
Griffin just finished two weeks of summer camp, a major accomplishment. This is him performing in the camp talent show tonight. This is so special for reasons I can’t even begin to explain but I’ll try. One of the reasons is Griffin doesn’t like to dance in front of people, despite the fact that he really likes to dance. There was also a lot of noise and he had to wait to go on, his group was the last one to perform. He had his earplugs in to help with the noise. And each time a group went on I would ask him if he knew anyone in the group so he would be more invested and it would help with the waiting. I immediately started crying when he started to dance. I love how he is in his joy, how free he is. For our family this is huge. I love our “Y” and I’m so grateful for all the amazing people we have met, they each have a special place in my heart.
As soon as I was handed the letter, my head immediately started itching. I heard a mother say “Oh, that’s not a letter you want to get.” I smiled and wanted so very badly to get Griffin home so I could check his head.
Later as I was telling Tom about Griffin’s day, it hit me. This letter was in a very strange way a beautiful reminder of just how far we’ve come. Here I was waiting for Griffin to return from a camp field trip, something I prayed would happen. I searched for a place that was willing to work with Griffin and that would see the amazing person he is. A place were he could thrive and learn in a safe and nurturing way while being around other children. He’s been so happy these past two weeks. Seeing him interact with other kids puts a huge smile on my face and doesn’t get old at all. When I drop him off or pick him up the counselors greet me with a smile and a “He did great,” “He’s so smart and articulate.” It takes everything I have not to cry. I can’t begin to explain what it all means to me.
And yes, I agree with the other mother, this is a letter I don’t ever want to get again but today I’m grateful I did.
This morning while getting ready for camp, Griffin asked me if I ever had any crushes when I was younger. When I said yes and told him my crushes were mostly on actors, he replied: “Like on Michael Jackson?” “Why on Michael Jackson?” I asked. Very innocently he answered, “Because you looked liked him when you where younger, when you had short hair.” I thought: So you wanna be starting something?? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I knew he wasn’t trying to be mean so I decided to just laugh.
When I was studying improv one of the rules you’re taught is “show, don’t tell”. So, with that in mind, I will show you what Griffin was talking about.
Yeah, not my finest moment. I think I look more like Albert from Little House On The Prairie. I actually did have a crush on Matthew Labyorteaux, the actor who played Albert. Wait, is that weird…since I kinda looked like him?
So there you have it, my morning conversation with Griffin and my 8th grade year book picture, Enjoy!
Griffin had a great first day of camp! He’s tired but wanted to let you all know how his day went. His day was filled with making new friends, making friendship bracelets, building with legos, playing outside, and learning that sticking up your middle finger is not a good thing. I know you’d think he’d know by now what it means, since he loves to curse but we’ve been spared that one, until now….
Griffin made me a friendship bracelet at camp. He wanted to see if both our wrists would be into it, it didn’t! He positioned our hands so it would look like they both fit into the bracelet.
It’s the night before Griffin starts summer camp.
Last summer he attended a partial day camp with his therapist shadowing him with great success. This year he’ll be doing a full day with limited support from his therapy team. It’s very exciting and a testament to the hard work he’s been doing and the quality of therapy he has been receiving. And although I’m so proud and excited for this milestone, I’m not going to lie, I’m freaking out a little. This will be the longest day he’s ever had away from home. Even when he was in traditional school, his day was shorter.
All these what ifs are filling the space in my mind that wants to just relax, trust, and celebrate this amazing moment. Even though he’s worked hard, he’s still figuring things out. He’s still working on communicating appropriately. What if he get’s tired and has a meltdown? What if he doesn’t pick up on the other kids’ social cues and has a hard time making friends? What if it’s too loud or he falls behind when they go outside? What if someone doesn’t understand him or isn’t patient with him? I feel guilty for having these What ifs. I feel like by having these What ifs it’s like I’m saying I don’t have enough faith in him, that I doubt if he’s ready. But I think what’s really happening is that I’m not ready. Based on the past, I’m not sure I’m ready to trust the outside world with him.
But the more I think about it, I already have examples of Griffin being successful in the outside world. Just this past school year he attended the after-school program at our local Y. The staff was so wonderful and welcoming. They were willing to work with his therapy team to provide him with whatever he needed to succeed. And he did…Griffin can’t wait for after-school to start up again. Being in that program gave us hope and made it possible for me to consider signing him up for summer camp. Lucky for us we got to meet the staff from the camp. Some are even from the after-school program. Griffin already has people looking out for him. One of the camp staff who we already know told me she’d keep an eye on him. And one of the life guards we know said that he would also look out for Griffin.
I know I need to take it moment by moment, that’s all I can do. Hope and excitement, that’s what I’m feeling right now.
Go Griffin! I love you! I know you can do it!
Griffin playing Vivaldi’s “Concierto in B Minor.” He’s never seen the sheet music for this song, he figured out how to play it all by himself. I’m in awe of his talent and I’m so proud that he has found something he loves and is so passionate about. Music is very important to him and to me, I’m always singing and I love playing my ukulele. I think it’s time he and I do another duet!
Here are some wonderful moments I might have missed if Griffin wasn’t with me. I have to admit that there are times when I’m calling out to him “Come on Griffin, hurry up!” Be in the moment is something I’m always trying to do. These are some great reminders of what I might have missed if I hadn’t stopped and payed attention.
This duck was right outside our door, just chilling by the curb. He came back the next day and was following Griffin!
Griffin spotted this beautiful cardinal on our way to the “Y”
We ran into this very funny bunny on our walk home from the library. I love hearing Griffin’s excitement and love for the this sweet animal.