Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why Music Is Everything

For as long as I can remember, music has been my greatest hobby and passion.  I started going to concerts in my early teens.  Thirty years later, I have not stopped yet.  I have no talents of my own in this area, but readily acknowledge that I have lived my life with a constant soundtrack.  In my earliest memories, it was Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles.  In my teens, it was Berlin, Depeche Mode, and all that on KROQ.  When I came back East, my favorite haunt was the 9:30 Club, where I saw Alison Moyet, Book of Love, Matthew Sweet - all back on F St, NW.  99.1 WHFS was constantly in the background.  When I gave birth to Jimmy, for whatever reason U2 was stuck in my head clearly.  "Beautiful Day."  I still get emotional when I hear that song.

For the past year, the musical touchstones in our house have been two brilliant bands, Capital Cities and Fitz and the Tantrums.  The bands are passions I now share with Jacob, my soon to be 11 year old.  We have seen both bands three times this year and are heading towards our fourth in early November.  Jacob has had a good time with it.

On October 30th, the day after his tenth birthday, he went to see both bands together in his first trip to the 9:30 Club.  At the end of the Capital Cities set, he was given the drumstick.  He got two signatures that night.... Ryan Merchant and Spencer Ludwig were just so nice as he was leaving.

He finished the signatures of the rest of the band off at Sweetlife, visiting them backstage.  

He had a great time...  Spencer has made such a positive impression on him that for his first year in band, he chose trumpet.  

When this picture was taken, 2 Chainz was playing.  Jacob was all excited because Spencer had come out after the CC set and was dancing about 15 feet away.  Sweetlife was an amazing day.

The next month, Jacob skipped the class party after the fourth grade awards ceremony to see at Fitz and the Tantrums in Charlottesville, just shy of a two hour drive.  Clearly he made some friends and appreciated the generosity of his crush, the beautiful and talented Noelle Scaggs and fantastic drummer John Wicks.

Where he was up front, center, in front of Michael Fitzpatrick himself.

And got a great photo pre show as well.

These two bands have become music that we love and share, and going to their shows are the mother/son dates that are just so amazingly special to us.  For his 11th birthday party, we have six tickets to see Capital Cities and see which of his friends' parents are willing to let their fifth graders skip Chuck E Cheese in favor of a DC club.  His birthday present - Fitz and the Tantrum tickets for the following week!  His birthday wish - a hug and a photo with Noelle Scaggs.  

Jimmy has become quite the music fan as well...

In his earliest diagnosis, sensory issues were such an issue that I thought listening to music in the car with Jimmy would be an impossibility.  Concerts still are (though I am tempted to see if someone would let him go to a sound check), but his love of music is quickly rivaling his brothers.  His tastes are even more eclectic.

Florence!  The only CD allowed in my car for a year.
And of course Jimmy's spirit animal Bjork, who lulls him to sleep with "All is Full of Love."

He has finally embraced the bands of choice in this house, getting ahold of my iTunes password and downloading the entire "Safe and Sound" remix album and has sung the song from beginning to end. To understand how impressive that is... he is non verbal.  A child doesn't talk, but will sing Capital Cities.  Yesterday, he finally embraced Fitz and the Tantrums and played them for six hours straight on the computer.  But only "Pickin' Up the Pieces."  Maybe that is a sign that we have played "More Than Just a Dream" a few too many times in the car.  Why he still runs around the house humming "The Walker" but won't let me play the album in my car anymore is just beyond me.

Communication for children who are profoundly autistic is difficult to come by.  But our collective love of music has given us a common language and experience that we all share, much to my surprise.  It is deeply gratifying to have that now.  And I am beyond grateful to those who sacrifice steady paychecks, time with family, and a conventional life in the name of sharing their gifts with the world.  I look at my kids and know we are all richer for it.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Another ADA legal action waiting to happen.... I give you Penn State!!!

So apparently PSU has limited parking due to construction, so their monied boosters get to use the ADA parking, disability or not.  The disabled?  Parking two miles away and shuttled on school buses that aren't always appropriately equipped.  Penn State must like paying lawyers.  And settlements!!!!

Eeek!!!!! Has it really been that long...

I haven't posted in nine months...

I can't imagine anyone reads this anymore, but I miss the catharsis of writing about... everything.  So I am testing the waters again.

It's another school year, one marked by pronounced change.  Jacob is in his last year of elementary school, but Jimmy has moved on to middle, and I have switched buildings to another school as well.   Change is exciting, anxiety provoking, stressful, and sometimes exactly what you need in life.  Jimmy and I are settling to our changes pretty nicely.

Here's to a great year!