Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Wonder of Prayer

Don't get all up in arms, I am not getting religious on you.  

When Maya was first diagnosed with autism I was devastated.  


It's a mourning process.  The lucky ones go through the stages of grief and wind up eventually at acceptance.  

I am one of the lucky ones.  

One of the things in those dark days that made me feel better was listening to my Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniac CD's.  I've always loved Natalie, her quiet, folksy lyrics and beautiful music has always given me a sense of peace and warmth.  

When Maya was diagnosed and in the long dark days before, when Maya was in an almost constant state of meltdowns.  When the world was so confusing the only thing she could do to cope was to completely break down emotionally and physically or hide under the table and rock back and forth, where the only way to get her out was for Leo or I to lay down on the floor under the table and slowly coax her out.  Or when the total  of 6 weeks she spent at a  (mainstream) school was so traumatic, that the only way she could exercise any control over what was happening to her was by being completely naked at home.  

You haven't experienced fun until you have had 12 people over to break the fast on Yom Kippur with your 4 year old coming to the table naked.   

Those were difficult days for us all.  

In order to cope, at night, on the way to and from work, at home, I listened to Natalie Merchant.  Her smooth voice and gentle lyrics helped me to maintain some semblance of calm and balance.  

Her song Wonder especially spoke to me.  Seemingly about a girl who may not fit any classical mold but still turning out okay soothed me.  I listened to the song over and over.  It became a mantra.  

With love, with patience and with faith, she'll make her way
I sang that line over and over.  Every time I got under the table.

After Maya was diagnosed, that song was even more meaningful to me.  I felt like it had been written for Maya.  For my beautiful daughter, who despite her difficulties was this beautiful soul, who had such kindness, compassion and pure untouched beauty within her, but that these gifts were hard to see.
They say I must be one of the wonders
of G-d's own creation
And as far as they can see
they can offer no explanation
Ooh, I believe
Fate smiled at destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
Laughed as she came to my mother
Know this child will not suffer
With love, with patience and with faith,
She'll make her way 
It is Maya's song.  It's my hope for her.  It is my prayer.

The video of the song is a lovely piece as well.  Many beautiful women, a girl with Down's syndrome, all singing and moving beautifully.  I thought for sure that Natalie Merchant must have a sister, cousin or friend with special needs or that she is just a super compassionate and accepting person.

Today I came across this version of the song that Natalie Merchant sang in concert and indeed the song came out of her experience working as a volunteer at a day camp for children with special needs.  The song is about one particular person with special needs that she encountered and she wrote this lovely and beautiful song about.

She explains that what she came to learn was that children with special needs almost develop extra senses as a way to navigate through the world and that's really what the song is about.

It's about my girl.