Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Mayor


Oliver insisted on coming with me to Sophie's birthday party at her school on Tuesday, and because he had an early day anyway, I told him that I'd pick him up and bring him along. I should preface this entire post by admitting that The Big O has been driving me crazy of late -- truly crazy. The kind of crazy that thinks HE'S crazy, the kind of crazy that makes me think myself heroic just because I don't slap him across the face for being so obnoxious. In fact, I've told him that were he to have been himself in another decade he might have had his mouth washed out with soap (I have memories of one of my cousins at the bathroom sink, his father standing directly behind him, his mouth a frothy mess, punished for cursing or talking back). Anyway, I digress -- I liked the idea of Oliver meeting some of Sophie's classmates, and I thought he could help me carry in the food and cupcakes.

This post isn't really about Sophie and her class -- the party was a joyous one in that all the kids sang Happy Birthday to Sophie and then got up to dance to rap music at the front of the room. Sophie's teacher, the impossibly cute and hip Mr. J danced with Sophie, too, as did her wonderful aide Ms. P. The class has about sixteen or so teenagers and young adults with various disabilities, some more obvious than others. There are a few young men, about three times the size of Oliver, I'd say, and with their limited speech and awkward miens, I would have expected Oliver to be a bit nervous or even uncomfortable.

Well, my son Oliver morphed into a person that I hardly recognized. He became what I can only describe as The Mayor of the class. He walked around the room, passing out food and cupcakes. He chatted with several of the kids, grinned his huge toothy smile when most got up to dance and observed the festivities from behind a small table where he sat calmly. When it was time to leave,

he walked around the room, shook hands with each kid, patted some on the back, if they were in wheelchairs, and did that street kind of greeting with the closed fists with those who offered it.

Honestly, I was floored. Speechless. It was one of those moments when I thought who the hell is this kid? When we got back into the car, I told him how proud I was of him and he told me that he'd had a great time, that those kids are really nice and they can dance, right, Mom?

I'm still shaking my head over the whole thing. Who knew?







28 comments:

  1. That is so freaking awesome...I have tears in my eyes about that boy. Hang on to him...he'll drive you crazy with frustration and with joy.

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  2. You completely made my day.
    My week

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  3. Kids are weird, they save their worst for us. Mine are the same. Glad you got to see this other side of him.

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  4. Wonderful beautiful photos! When Oliver goes on to a higher post, the disabled will all be kings. Bless him.

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  5. Happy Birthday to Sophie (I know I am late, sorry) and wow, go Oliver. You have lovely children :) Jen

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  6. I knew. I have always known. He is an old soul with more know how than most of us. And he has the smile to prove it. I told you before, you can send him up here any time. I can do obnoxious like there is no tomorrow and never let it get me. That is, because I am older than you and not his Mother.

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  7. What we do in life...echoes in eternity.

    He's got a good start. I'd be proud too. Very.

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  8. Sophie looks beautiful and Oliver sounds like a typical boy for his age. As always, he has the most charming smile. I'm sure you'll forget all about the present characteristics by the time you drop him off for college.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  9. Happy birthday Sophie and happy "making your mom's day" to Oliver. We take it when we can get it...That's what I say!
    Terry

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  10. What a joy to read this. It's kind of a miracle that you got to witness it, because a lot of the time, it seems that kids save their best for others, and we don't get to see it. It must have been a Happy Birthday for everyone! Thank you for sharing the photos and the story. xoxoxo

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  11. Yay Oliver, unbelievable! Just when you think boys cannot get anymore obnoxious and selfish (yep I've got one too), they show depth of compassion hitherto unknown. Clearly, an amazing child under the whole entitled thing. How do we break that sense of entitlement oh wise one?

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  12. You may be surprised by your Oliver, but I am not one bit surprised. He is a good man, your son!

    Sophie is so beautiful.

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  13. I'm telling you, that kid has the best heart. The BEST. Isn't it great when they do something Wonderful just in time for us not to despair completely? ; )

    And I loved seeing Miss Sophie in her Maurice Sendak birthday crown.

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  14. Love. Thanks for the full coverage of Sophie's special day and her amazing brother.

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  15. Beautiful! As so many others have said, so often we don't get to see that side of our kids. But it's in there!

    xo

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  16. I think Oliver's relaxed, accepting behavior is a direct result of the the fact that his family's "circle of normal" includes a sister like Sophie. There are certainly challenges to having a disabled family member - but there are some blessings scattered in there as well. Oliver demonstrated one of those blessings on Tuesday at Sophie's class party.

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  17. Don't you love it when your kids surprise you like this? Once at school on my oldest son's birthday when I brought cupcakes like you did, my 2nd son came across the room to him with his arms outstretched for a hug saying "happy birthday, bro!" Huh?! At home they fight like cats and dogs all the time!! :-)

    Great photos of Sophie and her class and great story about Oliver.

    Carrie T. - mom to 4 from Korea

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  18. Ah I love the kid! This post just cracked me up :) I can totally see Oliver mingling and "governing" the classroom. If he keeps driving you crazy, just let me know, we'll take him, any day :)

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  19. Sophie looks really good in a crown, the way some people look good in hats. And Oliver---think he's got a future in politics?

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  20. A beautiful and touching vignette.

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  21. truly the mayor of your heart.

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  22. There is no sweeter gift than what you witnessed. I have goose bumps after I read your post. Our children continue to surprise us don't they?

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  23. Oliver has become is becoming the man you dreamed from yourself. And Sophie has had her part in forming him as she has had in forming me and all of us who know her even from a distance even from here.

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  24. I just love this post. that is all.

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  25. This absolutely brought tears to my eyes. Our "other" kids definitely go through a lot by having siblings with special needs, but they sure do get a lot out of it. What an AWESOME brother. :) I have a post to make soon about Jacob too. I just love my boy. And he makes me batshit crazy too, like your Oliver. ;)

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  26. I just love this post and the image of Oliver working the room and seeing the light in everyone around him. He's an amazing kid (and amazing kids do tend to drive us nuts at times!)

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