I watched Ladybug sing her heart out during her year end concert. No one watching knew what emotions stirred Briz and I as we watched our miniature pre-teen. The countless hours of encouragement, frustration, and song requests to a seemingly mute child will remain unknown to all who watch my seemingly normal little girl. But we know . . . and our hearts just about jump out of our chests when we hear her sing.
Elisabeth has full blown Autism. She is assisted to the mike and proceeds to sing The End of the Rainbow. She does a beautiful job. She remembers every word. The crowd is moved. Several wipe their eyes in recognition of a mountain crossed.
But I have eyes only for her mother. She mouths every word. Throughout the performance she mouths animated encouragement and gives thumbs up or clasped hands. She is connected to that little girl as though they two were the only two on the face of the earth, as though no one else mattered. In her face, I see the thousands of hours of work, worry, and love that have gone into Elisabeth. In her eyes, I see that she understands that this three minute song is the pay check for years of effort, the pot of gold at the end of the elusive rainbow. I understand.
I see her, I know her . . . I see myself.