Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nutcracker Bold

Last night, Nana treated Elena and I to a live performance of The Nutcracker. This is E's first time seeing a grown-up ballet live. My only concern was the time--the only showing was at 730 pm, which is bedtime at our house.

But, it's Winter Break from school. We dressed up and hoped for the best.

We arrived just on time. The theater was sold out, and we had good seats (close to the end of the aisle if we needed to exit). Elena was TIRED. But it was certainly intoxicating--the theater was hot with people, and when the lights went down E's excitement was palpable.

The show was terrific--but it was the intermission that really surprised me.

We got up for a drink. Elena navigated the crowd well (and there were a lot of people). Everyone was very polite, with the exception of the curious stares. Once we found our seats, I saw oh-so-familiar "swinging hair" in the aisle next to me.

A girl. Just a little older that Elena.

With a gait...just like her, only a little more torso swing.

I looked at Nana. She saw it's like a sort of "CP radar" or something. The little girl appeared to be with her sister and her grandparents. I so desperately wanted to talk to her. I was choked up about it.

"Do you think I can go up to them and ask about her?" I asked Nana. Elena was oblivious.

"I think so...if anyone asked me about Elena, I'd be happy to talk about her."

Emboldened but nervous, I approached the Grandmother. "Do you think I could talk to you?" I asked her with a smile, intending her to come into the aisle so not to talk over their granddaughters. Friendly but reserved, she complied.

I told her I noticed her granddaughters gait, and I was very impressed with her walking--the aisle sloped downward, and the girl was walking without any help or devices. I told her my daughter was 6, and had SDCP and uses crutches.

"The pretty pink ones? She's so beautiful!" the grandmother said. We had a lively conversation. Her granddaughter J had a rhizotomy at 4 yrs too. She started with a walker, and had crutches, and one day told her Dad "I'm a walker" and decided she didn't want them any more. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? J has a wheelchair for "long distances". I didn't have time to ask what a long distance to J meant. She introduced me to her granddaughters. J smiled at me. She seemed to be happy--happy to meet a stranger who was proud of her, and I think happy to be an example for a younger girl. She looked at E (a few rows back, nearly sleeping with her eyes open on Nana's lap) and saw her crutches, and seemed to be proud (which she should be!). Her sister was quite nice also, and engaging.

Overall, a fun, exciting (and late!) evening, complete with a great intermission. Bravo!


Cary said...

Oh WOW! What a great story! It gives me such hope as we wait (very inpatiently) for Ben's SDR date.

I have "CP Radar" too!

Mo said...

I love this! Just the feel good kind of story I need right now! Love you guys.

Josephine said...

It is so good for these sweet girls to meet other kids like them :) Speaking of which, Avery and I got to meet your family at Keith's office today! It was awesome :) Both your girls are so cute, and when I first saw Elena, she was walking out of the therapy room as if she owned the place, no crutches or anything :) It made me super happy :)

Ellen Stumbo said...

Having a child with Cerebral Palsy and one with Down syndrome, this is one area where there is a HUGE difference! Kids with Down just don't wonder, you just see it, and there is this unspoken connection. if I see an adult or kid with Down syndrome out and about, I will talk to them. Same when I am out with my daughter, as soon as a stranger walks to us, I know there is a connection. With is different. Not all kids with wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, have CP. We don't always have that openness. I feel hesitant to "make the move." I think we are all getting better at it, I think we are beginning to connect (and social media has helped us so much!)
And that is the end of my novel. ;)

GingerB said...

Awesome story! I am sorry we spaced the card exchange :( I barely had my heard above water this year, somehow.

Anonymous said...

I had a CP radar moment today and thought of this post right away. So cool to know there are others like us. Our peeps.

AZ Chapman said...