Ella Sings After Disappointment Dissipates

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by Michael Casten |

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social distancing, e-learning, puppy, busy

The holidays are upon us. In our house, Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving. The house gets decorated, winter candles are lit, and Christmas music fills the rooms. The kids are old enough to help decorate. The dogs even have Christmas bandanas around their necks.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was given to us by a friend and her family. Amid the clutter that comes with three kids and two dogs, we found space on the kitchen table to enjoy our quiet meal. We gave thanks for our blessings and dug into the delicious food. As we were eating, we took turns sharing what we have been thankful for during the past year. 

The next day, we had company over to work on the leftovers. Before we knew it, the karaoke machine had been brought out and the kids were singing songs from their favorite movies. Ella, seated at the back of the family room, was still upset about not getting a solo part in her Young Naperville Singers (YNS) choir. She watched the kids and adults singing, laughing, and eating desserts.

As two of the kids were performing, I saw Ella wheel herself out of the family room, across the house, and into the living room. From my vantage point, I could see her through the hallway. She turned off her wheelchair and sat quietly by herself. Her head was bowed, and her hands were fidgety. One of her legs had a nervous kick, and her face looked sad.

My wife, Lindsay, asked about Ella and I said I thought it best to leave her alone with her thoughts. After two of the kids finished their song, the second pair started singing. Ella slowly wheeled herself into the family room and rejoined the crowd. The room became quiet as everyone looked at Ella. She had watery eyes and asked whether she could sing. Of course, we said yes. She rolled up to the table and picked up the iPad that was connected to the karaoke machine. 

She chose “The First Noel.” The room grew silent as she began singing. Her pitch and volume were perfect. Heads moved to the tune, and everyone watched Ella as she performed a beautiful rendition of the song. The crackling of the fire seemed to complement her singing. Even the dogs were listening.

When she finished, she gently put down the microphone. She glanced around and started to smile. She received compliments from everyone, including enthusiastic tail wags from the dogs. She rolled away from the table, taking one more look at everyone’s approving smiles.

Since not getting the solo part at YNS, Ella has shied away from singing. She has filled her days with other things. This was the first time since the disappointment that she sang a full song, and the first time she sang in front of an audience. You could tell by the look on her face that she was ready to move on.

Time heals all wounds.


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