(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)
He looks forward to Wednesday evenings. They feel safe and dependable — a godsend if you’re autistic and anxious, like my son.
On Wednesday evenings, he has music lessons. On the drive there, he munches on chips, nodding his head to whatever Bollywood number is playing on my phone. The routine is comforting and traversed a hundred times over, just like our route.
When we get there, he runs in to greet his teacher. A quick half-turned goodbye and he hops into the classroom, where an abundance of shiny musical instruments await him.
Some days they play the Beatles and other times Bocelli. I hear soft notes on the piano, tentative at first, before dissolving into a confident song he’s been practicing for weeks. Next up are the bongos or the ukelele or whatever catches his fancy. Soon, folksy tunes fill the air, and I stop scrolling on my phone to make a quick audio recording. It’s always good, honest music, elevated when he sings along in his high, little-boy voice. I hear laughter and a LOT of conversation before they end with a silly crescendo accompanied by some frenzied drumming. It is perfection.
walks out, skips out of class with a Cheshire cat smile, and I remind him to pull his mask up. We wave a boisterous goodbye — “SEE YOU NEXT TIME, MR. BRENDAN!!” — and walk to the car. Kissing his head, I mention how much I enjoyed his rendition of “Here Comes the Sun.” He smiles – a shy little grin and announces that it was “a lot of fun.”
Then, after a pause, he adds, “Nirav never gets anxious at music class. He is happy.”
We drive home, weaving through rush hour traffic, content in our companionable silence.
Wednesday evenings are pretty damn perfect.