Clapping. Whispering. Not Simultaneously

I planned to write an informative blog post about the role of mitochondrial support, and how going back on MitoSpectra has helped Martin since last week. But now I’m excited by events at church and want to write about them instead. That other, more informative post will just have to wait. Sorry not sorry.

At children’s time this Sunday—after the Gospel, before the choir anthem—the kids were invited to come sit in the front pew, which was empty, because, well, it’s church. Martin dawdled, of course, and by the time he arrived, the other kids had packed the pew. Martin exclaimed, “I don’t fit!” The congregation laughed. We got him seated. The substitute pastor gave a talk that was too long for little kids, and kind of boring. Still, other than making some funny noises with his mouth, which is a stim he has when his adrenals are stressed (I think), Martin did okay, looking around and enjoying the front pew. Then, after the too-long talk, the substitute pastor asked the kids to stay put for the choir anthem. I got worried; music excites Martin, and I thought he might call out.

He didn’t. He listened as the choir sang “Soon and Very Soon,” a song he knows. It was the Andraé Crouch version, in a setting by Jack Schrader, and in the last stanza the choir began a slow clap. For me (I was tragically born without a sense of rhythm), it wasn’t an intuitive clap: not every beat, hard to hit just right.

Martin began to clap. Not to clap randomly—he started to clap along with the choir, exactly right, exactly keeping time with their slow, challenging clap. I was blown away. It’s long been a challenge to get Martin to keep time with anyone, whether walking, or talking, or running, or playing. Evidently, not anymore. Only one or two other kids clapped, so Martin had to watch the choir and take their cues. He succeeded.

That was enough to make my day. Later in the service, however, Martin delivered even more. His next feat came after communion. He’d already gone downstairs to Sunday school and come back up, carrying a picture. He’d drawn a marching band (that’s a favorite motif) passing in front of the church, and he wanted to point out the details. “This is a trombone, and look, here is the pastor watching them.” The time that Martin picked for his exposition was also announcement time, when the substitute pastor was recognizing birthdays and reminding everyone about the men’s breakfast group and charity gift drive, so I put my index finger to my lips and shhh!ed Martin.

Martin kept talking (predictable) but switched to a whisper. Martin has never whispered unprompted before, and he’s never been able to sustain a whisper more than a few words. Now he switched to a whisper and kept it going, sentence after sentence. The drummer was carrying his drum set, he showed me, and there was a tuba player, and here were all the people standing on the sidewalk applauding. Whisper, whisper, whisper. I didn’t try to shush him again. I ignored the church announcements and whispered back. We whispered an entire conversation.

Before the final song, Martin asked to take his snack and go to the common room, where we have coffee hour. I let him. After a minute he jogged back into the sanctuary. The choir was exiting, down the center aisle. Martin stood just inside the doorway, across the sanctuary from where I was, and caught my eye. I motioned for him to come to me. In days past, Martin would have ignored that and called to me from across the sanctuary, regardless of what was going on. This week, instead of calling out, he came. He jogged, ducking around the choir robes, to my seat and asked quietly, “Um, may I please start eating my snack?” I figured that an adult must have seen him in the common room and, knowing he follows a restricted diet, told him to go ask his mom whether it was okay to eat the snack. (Understanding and conscientious parents? Very patient parishioners? We are so blessed.) “Yes,” I said. “Go ahead.” And he disappeared again.

Later, when I had made my own way to coffee hour, I was approached by a woman I don’t know. She introduced herself and said she’s been coordinating the Christmas pageant this year. (Martin has been cast as “Shepherd No. 2.” He has two lines, which he has memorized.) “I just wanted to tell you,” the woman said, “your son is a joy. He is an absolute joy to work with.”

Boo-yah. Can you see why I decided to leave mitochondrial support for tomorrow?