I hadn’t realized that the song had been on continuous repeat for the better part of an hour. I had been reliving a perfect moment in time; one of those rare and precious moments when intellectual disabilities fade. It wasn’t I who had been wearing out the digital recording of Howie Day’s Collide, but if Annie was my biological child, I’d tell you she gets that habit from me. I’ll play a song to death if it reminds me of the right things. Just ask my family about Lee Brice and his song, I Drive Your Truck.
Annie has a low I.Q. She lived in a Russian orphanage until she was fourteen and in that place, her peers didn’t even call her by name. Her nickname, Kasiah, worked just fine. Ignore the fact that it means Cross Eyes. In Annie’s life before Amérika, there was no such thing as rare and precious moments when intellectual disabilities fade. There were no moments when any disabilities faded.
When we brought Annie home to join our family, one of the first things we did was to have her eye’s direction surgically corrected, though the vision was long-gone. Vision and I.Q. were something that nobody could ever do anything about. At least that’s what I thought.
Spencer King and the South Summit class of 2013 showed me that while Annie’s intellect couldn’t be corrected, because of people like them, there would be times it simply didn’t matter. There would be brief moments of perfection in Annie’s life when she felt just like anyone else. There really could be rare and precious moments when intellectual disabilities faded. Spencer was a popular senior at the high school, who decided to ask Annie to her prom. That night, after they danced to their prom’s theme song, Collide, Annie’s junior class gave her another gift when she was announced as the Prom Queen’s first attendant.
There are rare and precious moments when intellectual disabilities fade. There are some things in our lives that are too awesome to forget and we need to relive them from time to time, even if they get stuck on continuous repeat.
So when my wife, Amy, got up from a well-deserved nap and asked Annie how many times she was going to listen to that song, it snapped me back to reality just like it did Annie. It was I that answered first. “How many times would you listen to it?” Tears welled in Amy’s eyes and she smiled when she said, “I guess it’s sweet, huh?”
There are rare and precious moments when intellectual disabilities fade. There are some things in our lives that are too awesome to forget and we need to relive them from time to time, even if they get stuck on continuous repeat. When I looked at my smiling daughter I could feel every bit of happiness that she experienced on the night of her prom and the completely full emotion that hearing Collide always returns to her.
After, I tried to get back to the article I had been working on, but I couldn’t move forward. There is just something magical about rare and precious moments when intellectual disabilities fade. I couldn’t stop thinking about incredible people like Spencer King, the South Summit class of 2013, and my younger brother who didn’t quite make it to his thirtieth birthday. Finally I opened iTunes, went to the Lee Brice folder and clicked on continuous repeat for one of the songs I play to death. Then I opened a new document and wrote with my heart. I hope you don’t mind, but today was for Annie and me to think about some of the best things in life; rare and precious moments when intellectual disabilities fade.
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