This past weekend my husband and I went to a friend’s grandchildren’s dance recital. It was unlike any I had ever been to. The children and teens were all special needs kids. There were children with mild and severe autism, children with physical limitations, downs syndrome kids, kids with cerebral palsy, kids with cognitive disorders; all manner of limitations, big and small.
But the remarkable thing is not one of them appeared limited, or handicapped, or sad; each and every one appeared strong and brave and joyous. It was a remarkable event. Watching these kids gave me a sense of what true bravery is. It’s difficult enough for supposed ‘whole’ people to get up on stage and perform, but these kids showed true bravery in the way they held themselves on stage.
There was one teen, a girl with cerebral palsy who danced a solo. Every move calculated, and precise, every move looked to be daunting, filled with uncertainty, every move a study in concentration and deliberation, and it was the most beautiful experience. Watching this young woman dance brought tears to my eyes, not because I felt sorry for her, but because I felt such great hope and respect for her.
I walked away from this recital grateful for the opportunity to see true bravery, and heroes. The people who are their aides, instructors and helpers, the volunteers, and the parents and grandparents, they are real heroes, in a world where heroes are rarely seen.