Last year, Martin was into Adele. Adrian managed to snag three tickets to one of Adele’s September shows at Madison Square Garden. That’s the good news. As for the bad news—the show was on a Sunday night, in Manhattan, in September, when Martin was adjusting to a new school.

The concert was magical. We went by train, had a tapas meal, arrived at the Garden in time to explore before the show. Martin had been anxious about whether the music would be too loud, so I had a packet of ear plugs in my purse. We need not have worried. From the moment the lights dimmed and Adele rose upon a platform stage, singing “Hello,” Martin was transfixed. He never covered his ears. He wasn’t bored or asking to leave. He was so into the show that he tried to convince me he didn’t need to go to the bathroom, even as he was plainly kicking his feet and shuffling because he had to pee.

I forced him to go to the bathroom with Adrian. Apparently, before Adrian was done using the bathroom, Martin announced his intent to return to our seats—and Adrian let him go. My husband set Martin loose alone in Madison Square Garden and expected him to find his way back to our seats. Martin, miraculously, managed to do so, or at least to find the correct door, where he was stopped by a security guard who told him to wait for his father. If only my husband could have the judgment of a concert security guard.

It was after midnight by the time we got Martin home and in bed. While Adrian and I agreed the concert had been a resounding success, the excitement and abbreviated Sunday sleep time (like, four or five hours less than usual!) did not do his week well: Tomorrow’s blog post, which I’ve already written, is titled, “Week Four. Disaster?”

I’ll close with a few tidbits.

First, I’d hoped to hide, from Martin’s teacher and aide, why he was so tired. I mean—what kind of parents drag their special-needs eight-year-old to the City for a concert on a school night? Back in the old days, I could have hidden the deed. No more. Monday afternoon Martin’s aide left a note in his backpack, saying everyone enjoyed hearing all about the Adele show from Martin.

Second, if you’re in the mood to read, jump back to the post titled “Madison Square [Explicative] Garden” and remember the last time I tried taking Martin to a loud, noisy event in the World’s Most Famous Arena.


Not a Special Moment

This morning I had one of those disappointments to remind me that, no matter how far we’ve come, I still have a son with autism.

Adrian had already left for work, Martin was eating breakfast, and I’d finished giving his supplements early, so I had five minutes to spare. Bouncing around my Facebook feed I saw several references to Alfonso Ribeiro doing “The Carlton” on Dancing the the Stars last night. I’m not a big DWTS watcher, but who could resist traveling back 20 years and watching The Carlton again? Hastily, I used my iPhone to Google.

The dance was as delightful as I’d imagined, and I thought, “I want to share this with Martin.” I brought my iPhone to the breakfast table and restarted the video for him. I said, “This funny dance made me happy.”

What did I expect in return? I don’t know. Maybe a laugh. Maybe a question like, “Who is that man?” so that I could talk about The Fresh Prince. Maybe just a moment, together, when we would share a kibble of amusement. Just a moment.

Instead, Martin retreated to his comfort questions, the topics on which he fixates these days:

– “Are there children in that audience?”

– “Can we go there?”

Ÿ- “Do you have to practice to be in that audience?”

Each of these questions has, somewhere in the past, an origin. For months now, Martin has wanted to attend anything that resembles a concert, however remotely. When a group comes on the car radio, he says, “Mommy, does this group play shows still?” And then, “I want to go there.” He often melts down if we cannot proceed directly to a Crosby, Stills & Nash concert, or if informed that Adele is not currently appearing in our suburb. When Nick Jonas sang God Bless America before the U.S. Open women’s final, which I was watching on television, Martin deemed the event a concert and lost his cool because I didn’t have tickets. As to whether one has to “practice to go there,” last fall Martin and I attended a community event in which a children’s band and chorus performed. Martin became distressed that he could not climb up on stage and perform too. My attempt to explain that concerts are a culmination of much practice became a fixation for Martin. Now, no matter what is denied to him, he blames “practice.” “Mommy, do you have to practice to be a pirate?” “Do you have to practice to eat food that makes your belly hurt?” “Do you have to practice to go to Arkansas and meet the Duggars?”

There was no sweet moment this morning, watching Alfonso Ribeiro dance The Carlton. As soon as the video started, so did Martin:

“Are there children in that audience?”

“Yes, Martin, I assume so. This is taken from a television program that—”

“Can we go there?”

“No. See, this is taped from a televi—”

“I want to go there.” [He was growing distressed.]

“It does look like fun! But it’s not something we can—”

“Mommy, do you have to practice to be in that audience?” [He was beginning to cry.]

“No! You don’t have to practice to be in an audience. You—”

“I’m never going to go there! Never!” [Here ensued a meltdown.]

“Martin, I was hoping to share this with you, but it’s just making you cry.” [I turned off the video. We made it less than 30 seconds.]

I shouldn’t have said that last comment; Martin is sensitive, and I don’t want to induce guilt for behavior he cannot control. But I was frustrated.

We all have our shortcomings.