Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Front Row Seat

     It was a normal, boring Saturday of laundry, mopping, and vacuuming.  Buttercup, in her autistic world, was entertaining herself with all manner of toys, dishes, and odds and ends.  As I began folding yet another load of clothes, she came to find me.  “Mama, come.”  She pulls my hand and beckons me to follow her.  Truth be told, I really wanted to finish the laundry, but she seemed so insistent that I obliged. 

      The living room was set up with a pretend microphone by the couch and an audience of dolls and toys lined up in the middle of the floor.  She pointed to a spot in the “audience” and pulled me to a seat.  With a huge smile on her tiny face, she made her way to the microphone and faced her crowd.  “Welcome to the singing church.  You need sing music.”  I noticed a slip of paper on the carpet next to me and picked it up.  I laughed softly at the squeezable cuteness of scrap paper, lovingly adorned with musical notes in bright crayon.  Evidently, this was the music du jour for services at “the singing church”.  She stared at me with a slight smile on her face, which I understood as non-verbal communication that now would be the time to start singing.

     Evidently, “Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don’t Care” wasn’t exactly what she had in mind.

     Before I could get halfway through my song, she put her hand up with a stern, yet polite, “OK, that’s ‘nuff.”  I bit my lip to keep from laughing.  This was, after all, a church service.  After putting a stop to “Jimmy Crack Corn”, she made an announcement.  “Now is time for get married.”  I couldn’t wait to see this.

      She quickly chose two audience members.  “Outdoorsman” became the groom and “Princess Purple Dress”, now adorned with a tissue for a veil, became the blushing bride.  I was enjoying the preparation process immensely, so I was surprised when she handed me a flashlight.  “What should I do with this?” I asked.  She took my hand and showed me how to use the flashlight as a spotlight on the happy couple.  This was just too funny.  She solemnly made her way to her pretend microphone.  “OK, time for get married,” she said slowly, deliberately, with due reverence for matrimonial pomp and circumstance. 

      She picked up an old novel she had discovered on the bottom of a book shelf and slowly opened its pages, spine creaking in protest.  “Ow-side man,” she began, “You takin’ kissin’ Pwincess Purple Dwess?”  She hastily squatted to make Outdoorsman nod his head.  “Pwincess Purple Dwess,  you takin’ kissin’ Ow-side man?”  Back down she squats to make Princess Purple Dress nod her veiled head.  The two lucky audience members shared their nuptial kiss in a shaky spotlight held by the officiant’s mother, barely containing her composure.  As the kiss ends, Buttercup throws the happy couple in the toy box, says, “Show’s over”, and leaves the room. 

      There I sat, “spotlight” in hand, laughing like a loon. 

      It was singlehandedly the best show I had seen in years.  Not only did I have a front row seat, I was invited to be a small part of the production crew.  Suddenly, folding The Yankee’s underwear seemed like the most trivial, unimportant task on earth.  I had attended a church service, witnessed a wedding, and helped out with a first-rate dramatic production, all in one sitting. 

      This little girl, this adorable, affectionate, artsy little miracle of mysteries had come bouncing into my life at just the right time.  She pays little attention to the societal parameters around her.  She plays without reservation, she improvises without irritation, and she loves without hesitation.  She had reminded me once again why she is the best sidekick a mother could ever ask for … and I nearly missed it for a load of laundry. 

      It was the best church service in history. 

© Bertha Grizzly 2012.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

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