Hearing music alleviates anxiety and welcomes dappled drops clasping gleeful feelings, radiating inward and outward simultaneously. Like bursts of intense flavor, music explodes in the body. Only a few stoic souls can ignore its command to move. Dancing is the healthy choice. Turn on your favorite music and give yourself permission to become a part of those notes.
Sunday morning Emma wanted to listen to music and dance. There was nothing extraordinary about this, except that her ipod wasn’t charged and Richard’s iphone was with him in the back where he was still asleep. Both of these devices hold Emma’s favorite songs. However, Emma picked up my iphone, a poor and unfamiliar substitute, but she was in desperate straits and realized this was not the time to be picky. “Mommy? Can I listen to Mommy’s iphone please?” Emma asked.
Fortunately I have a number of Gwen Stefani albums programmed in. It took no time for Emma to find one she liked, which I’d never heard before, Hella Good. “You hold me like I should so I’m going to keep on dancing.” It’s got an electronic sound infused with a great beat, blending rock and funk and makes you want to dance. Which was exactly what Emma proceeded to do. When the song began Emma got an intense look in her eyes, a look of concentration and focus. I knew she knew I was watching because she looked over at me in the middle of a particularly complicated set of twirls with her arms raised high, her new string (I call it her starter string as it has no tape on it at all) she held in her right hand and twirled as the tempo picked up. Emma went from twirling slowly to adding her head to the swirling movement, as her hand twirled the string, her upper body moved from side to side as she spun around. The bass line reverberated and Emma suddenly thrust both arms up toward the sky and threw her head down while she spun.
This is how all of us would dance if we could. Emma’s body, the expression on her face, the way she moves, the string extended out from her hands as though it were part of her. She raised one arm and twirled, faster, her hair fanned out, her nightgown billowed around her ankles. Emma incorporated the music into her being, it was a part of her, it was her language. She had taken it and made it her own.
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*A quick aside about Emma’s “string.” After she covered it in red duct tape, she then covered just one end in purple duct tape and then left it in her brother, Nic’s room. When she reappeared from her own bedroom, she was carrying two pieces of this new string. I asked her what happened to her old string and she said, “No more.”
This morning, Emma turned on Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger featuring Christina Aguilera.
It began like this… (By the way, the turquoise thing Emma is holding is her string. It’s a work in progress. Every few days she adds more duct tape to it. Pretty soon she’ll be able to use it as a snowboard.)
and then she did this
Which turned into this
and then this
“I’ve got the moves like Jagger”…
and she did and she was…
It was beautiful.
In it’s purest form – joy.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: Emma’s Hope Book