This is my dream
Angels with Asperger’s flap their hands
The audience hang on the words of stammering staccato narrators
Gabriel’s port-wine stained face is radiant with joy
The troublesome Holy Couple lay their babe tenderly in the straw
And we feel As One.
I know I’m not going to be alone in the community of special needs parents who feel a little heartbroken during these last weeks of term. The empty school tray at Christmas Post collection time. The Christmas cards that perhaps can’t be written independently.
I can’t help but feel that the nativity play could be such an opportunity to model to our children than no-one needs to be marginalised. After all, isn’t that what the humility of the stable points to? Kings and shepherds, Gold and sheep. All are welcome.
I’m writing while it’s still raw. I left the school hall having watched my last ever nativity play tonight. Only that wasn’t the reason for the tears.
Little One was a sheep, slender bare feet peeping out from her black leggings. They’d lost her sheep headband that she had made at school. She hadn’t been able to tell us that we were supposed to make her another one at home.
She is positioned by the door, TA close to hand. We strain to see her enjoying the songs she’s been singing in random lines over the dinner table or in the car. Her moment… up onto the stage, we try to catch her eye. The Year 1 sheep come to the front for a song, but the Year 2 sheep don’t join them. She sits beautifully, arms crossed, back upright. Glancing up at the stars above her, awaiting the cue. She has a chance to ‘baa’, sitting dutifully with her shepherds. Time for the next number, she leaves the stage.
There are parents of other sheep out there tonight. Little One wasn’t the only sheep singled out to miss an opportunity to sing or dance on stage. But in this last year she’s learned so much and is able to be part of a performance, to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other children, to remember a few of the words.
It would have been so precious to us if she had been given the chance to “access the curriculum” in this – an area where she has strengths and abilities. Love of music, intrinsic rhythm and the biggest smile you have ever seen on a sheep.
I’m keeping my dream.